Midnight Mass 2012

What words can I say on this most holy of nights?

What words could I possibly use to express how glorious and yet how lowly this night is.

In the church we have had four Sundays of watching and waiting, four Sundays of preparation for this night.

And there is something in the air. I always get a shiver when I think of the thousands upon thousands of people who will gather on this cold and damp night, who will come together to celebrate. You know something special has happened when people gather into church this late at night.

For some of you this will be extremely late, and you will have made a special effort to remain awake to be here. For others this might not be late at all, but you have still ventured out, at a time when most will be resting.

But we are all here, to share, to celebrate, to rejoice in the climax of this season.

I do not need to tell the story again, we have heard it so many times, in so many ways this year, we know about the angels, we know about the shepherds, we know about the wise man.

We are here, to share, to celebrate and to rejoice that a baby has been born. A baby has been born in a strange land, in a stable surrounded by animals, and hay. A baby has been born, screaming and crying, testing out his new lungs.

A baby has been born tonight, who is the saviour of the world.

A baby whom time predicted, whom prophets spoke of, whom we have been waiting for, God has come to earth.

The word has become flesh and dwells among us.

What can I say on this most holy of nights?

I can declare that Jesus, the Christ is born.

I can shout out that God is among us.

And we can celebrate, because everything that has taken place this night, has been done out of love.

With the glitter, and the sparkle of Christmas, with the fairs and the fetes, the trees and the cards and the decorations, and the buying of presents, the wrapping and unwrapping, the food and parties, they plays and performances by our kids, the concerts, the get together with old friends, and distant family members.

It is easy to get distracted. Distracted from the message of love which is sent to earth this night.

I said earlier that there is something in the air on this night. It’s a freedom from these expectations, and the business of the season which we all know so well. It’s the hope of a better future filled with love.

There is one carol which I have come to adore during this advent. I didn’t know about it until this year. And don’t worry I’m not going to sing it. But I would like to read you the words. It is a popular Arabic carol which talks about the meaning of Christmas.

“On the Eve of Christmas Hatred will vanish

On the Eve of Christmas The earth will flourish

On the Eve of Christmas War will be gone

On the Eve of Christmas Love will be born

When we offer a glass of water to a thirsty person

it is Christmas

When we clothe a naked person with a gown of love

it is Christmas

When we wipe the tears from weeping eyes

it is Christmas

When the spirit of revenge dies in me

it is Christmas

When in my heart I no longer want to stay apart

it is Christmas

When I am buried in the being of God

it is Christmas

The hope of Christmas, is the hope of love.

God gave us a gift in Jesus, he sent his son to show us the way. When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied, it is love.

What can I say on this most holy of nights?

The love of God has been born to us, let us love one another.

I printed copies of this carol, and you might want to re look at it tomorrow, after the presents and food and celebration with family and ask yourself what you could do to bring the hope and love the author of this carol speaks about further into your lives and this world.

But for now, What can we say on this most holy of nights?

Jesus is born, Alleluia!!!!