This is the time of year that families come home. Some return from college. Others bring their new families from far distances. Others come from overseas after being away defending our country. We gather together as f family who grew up with each other and retells all the old stories of Christmases long ago when we could not wait to go to bed, excited about what we would find around the tree on Christmas morning. As we get older, we realize that it is not so much about things, but about each other and the one who makes this gathering possible, namely God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.
Today we witness something about God. He has decided to make him home among us. We have become his home and his dwelling. He has taken on our flesh and blood today so that he becomes the ultimate story of our lives. Joy to the world, God has come to make his home among us.
He has made a home among us because he loves us and desires to draw us closer to him. He has personally come among us to build up what we have torn down through selfishness and sin. He has come among us to show us how to live, by following God the Father through gratitude, obedience and trust. He has come to be alongside of us to share our joys and sorrows and to give us hope and strength. He has come to save us by telling us and showing us that our true path in life requires a generous, merciful and humble heart.
The Son of God comes among us not as a fully grown man and carried on the wings of angels. He comes to us as an infant, born of the Virgin Mary into a cold and dark world to give us a chance in reclaiming our life through the love of him. Most of us honor him this time of year by placing a Nativity scene among the decorations. But that is not the place where the Stable will have its greatest effect. God makes a home for himself not only in our world. His greatest desire is to make a home for himself in our hearts and minds and bodies.
In that holy action, accomplished by daily prayer, receiving the sacraments and living a life of virtue we become recipients of all the gifts of God. These gifts are not wrapped. These gifts rather wrap our souls with love, courage, perseverance, faith and hope. As God becomes man, he makes it possible for us to become more like him and make the world a place of his grace and holiness.
On this Christmas day, as we celebrate this Holy Mass, we have come home to God. This is God’s house and our home. It is a place of closeness to God. It is a place where we have experienced him through our eyes and ears, and even our nose and mouth as we receive the Gifts of his Body and Blood.
This great feast of the Birth of our Lord gives us the hope of a heavenly home. Jesus has made this possible and our faith and love for him make it real for us. We see God when we look at Jesus. We hear God when we listen to his word. We even taste God as he becomes our food and drink. He becomes like us in every way except sin so that we can become like him through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Just as we never get tired of telling the old family stories of Christmas, may we rediscover again the power of Christ’s birth. God makes his home in our midst. Let us receive him with great joy.