Eve of Nativity 2009

Pastor M. Beecroft, 12/24/2009

“The events of that first Christmas were forever etched into the mind of Blessed Mary. St Luke tells us, “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Yet I suspect Mary’s memories of Christmas are different from our own. We love Christmas, or the happy holidays of December. Whether people are Christian or not, this time of the year is almost magical. People are filled with sentiments of peace, joy, hope, and love. Fond, warm memories of past Christmases fill us with cheer. We remember special times with family and friends. Even tonight, the children are anxious, filled with anticipation and excitement. Christmas in America inspires mental tableaus of family blissfully gathered around the Tree or table; roaring fires; snow-covered landscapes; ice-skating rinks; children bundled with sweaters, scarves and mittens; babies sitting on the lap of Santa; reindeer, elves and snowmen. As we ponder tonight the meaning of Christmas in this idyllic setting of falling snow, it would be easy for us to be lulled into believing this night to merely be some living Hallmark Christmas Card of family, friends, good food and gifts. It would be easy to reduce this exciting, anticipation-filled night to be all about the warm fuzzies of joy, peace, hope and love. So we must be careful. We must be very careful. The cultural cliches of our modern Christmas are far removed from the scandal and danger that would have filled Mary’s mind as she remembered all the things that had just taken place and pondered on them in her heart. Yes, Christmas is all about memories. Yet Christmas memories, the ones God would have us ponder, are scandalous and dangerous. And until we grasp the scandal and danger of Christmas, we will never understand the true joy, peace, hope, and love of this night.”

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