Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Dec 16, 2011 | Comments (0)

Christmas Day, John 1:1-18

I love the Christmas Day service. Christmas Eve was a swell party with the choir, music, attendance. Then there are the balloons, cake and gifts at the family service. The excitement and thrill of that kind of evening is only celebrated once a year.

Today, we do not have the choir, the crowd or the candles. We have a mostly empty church, as most already went to the Mass last night. There are unlit candles circling the church, perhaps flowers that need watering, with pieces of paper the alter guild might have missed after going deep into the night sprucing things up. This is a wonder full time. I like to call it a "no frills service".

It is a great service because you here are among the faithful. We can get down to the business of Christmas. You cannot preach a deep sermon on Christmas Eve. The crowd is too dispersed for that. You are the ones who are ready to get the real meat of Christmas. You can dine on it for the rest of the year or maybe even for the rest of your life.

One Christmas Eve, I read John's Gospel on the Word and preached on it rather than the little Town of Bethlehem. It was a disaster. But there is no excuse not to preach the "Word" on this day of all days.

I can tell you here, right now, Christmas was the start of a new and eternal spiritual life. It is best stated in Ephesians 4:6 "ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL, WHO IS ABOVE ALL, AND THROUGH ALL, AND IN YOU ALL."

Before Christmas, God only was Transcendent: "above all." We need a God who is Transcendent. A friend of mine who was in Viet Nam shared how that was who he had to believe in. The war, with all its turmoil, death and vicious violence, was beyond anything one could imagine. Only a Transcendent God who knew, and was in charge no matter what, could be trusted faithfully.

Christmas, with the incarnation, changed the picture because now God was "through all". Now because of Christmas, God through Pentecost would be a God who was "in all".

The meat of Christmas is that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. The Law was given by Moses, grace and truth came though Jesus Christ.

The uniqueness of Christianity is grace. Everyone is saved by grace. That is the theology, but what is the spirituality? What is our experience of Grace? You can read all you want about it and still not get it. It is only when we can identify it by the experience of a God who is above, through and in all that can we say, "I have got it."

This means that the Grace of God is above all, though all and in all. Everyone reading this mediation has the grace of God totally covering them, and all because of Christmas. Any time we experience this Presence, we celebrate Christmas.

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