O Holy Night

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_“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)

Dear friends in Christ, we gather this great night to keep vigil like the shepherds who kept watch over their flock by night. Night is symbolic of darkness, absence of light, absence of joy, love and peace. The people to whom Isaiah prophesied in our first reading were a people in darkness.

Isaiah prophesied that Christ, the light of the world would dwell in their midst and wipe out the darkness. This prophecy of Isaiah is the very news the Angels announced to the shepherds who kept watch at night: “For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.”

Ironically, as this great news was being announced, Mary and Joseph were in a different kind of darkness – an obscure manger amid animals. There was no inn available, no one kind enough to pity a pregnant woman and open their doors to her seeing she was about to deliver.

What about you? Are you also going to kick Mary out? Where is she, you ask me and I will tell you; she is there in the hungry, the sick, the homeless, and the poor. No one took note of her just as no one takes note of the millions of persons who will go to bed this night without hope of getting any food to eat tomorrow.

But for the angels who announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, no one would have taken note. Gathered this night to keep vigil, we too are privileged to hear this message. God has sent his angels to announce to us specially what is really taking place this night – that God has taken our human flesh.

Are we going to listen to this message without going out there to search for the child and do him homage? Children of God, are we going to leave this church this night and return to our daily routines? Is it going to be business as usual for us? Are we going to end up eating and drinking ourselves to stupor without letting the light of God touch the inner recesses of our hearts?

No wonder St. Paul admonishes in today’s second reading: “Live sober, upright and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, Jesus Christ who gave his life to redeem us from all iniquity and make for himself a people who are zealous for good deeds.”

Brothers and sisters, we have heard the Good News, let us go out and act on it, let repent of sin and do everything within our power to shine our light, let us make Jesus felt and heard in our world today, let us visit the manger, the slums, the forgotten and dejected, the seemingly unimportant persons and places. These are places where our celebration of Christ would be most meaningful.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we are in darkness, come and save us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible Study: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96:1-13, Titus 2:11-14 and Luke 2:1-14)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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