Merry Christmas! Ready or not Christmas is here.
Why do we spend so much time, energy and money on the celebration of Christmas each year? Well, there are different answers. For some it is a social thing. Others it is primarily about family. Some observe it as a warm, fuzzy feeling of good will to others. Nothing wrong with any of that.
But for us Christians there is an additional, and primary, reason for celebrating. We remember and give thanks for the wonderful gift of God born in the flesh. God’s gift to us of a Savior, to save us from a pointless and unhappy and meaningless existence of sin, and to save us for a life of peace and joy in harmony with God’s Will for us, and an infinite eternity of union with God as our beloved. That is what Christmas is all about.
In our short passage from the Letter to the Hebrews which is our second reading today, the author twice quotes the line from Psalm 40, “I come to do your will..” That is the attitude of Jesus. The operative word in this quote is the short word, “DO”. I come to do you will, O God. Doing is what is important.
Doing is more important than feeling. Doing is more important than belonging to the right religion. Doing is more important than believing the right doctrines. Doing is more important than following the right beliefs. Doing is more important than your citizenship, your race, your university degree, your income, or the version of your cell phone.
The attitude of Jesus is “I come to do your will, O God.”
This is what Jesus teaches us in St. Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25. In the image Jesus gives us of the final judgement, where Jesus separates people as a shepherd separates sheep from goats, the criterion of judgement is what you did or failed to do. I was hungry and you fed me, a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and you visited me, or not. The judgement is all about what you did or did not do. DO.
To truly celebrate the Feast of Christmas, at its deepest and most meaningful level, it does not matter if you got the house decorated, or the lights up, or how many parties you get invited to, or if you receive the present you really want.
What does matter is what you do. How you care for others. How you follow the example of Jesus. That is what matters.
The very best way to celebrate the birth of the Christ child is to do what Jesus did. Follow God’s Will in action. “Behold, I come to do your Will, O God.” That will make for the most meaningful, and most joyous, Christmas of all.