By Mgr Paul Boyers, Administrator, Diocese of Broome
Christmas is a time for remembering the birth of Jesus Christ.
Given that the birth has been commemorated for 2000, we could suppose that this baby was born into splendid circumstances.
Yet everything about Christ’s birth speaks about vulnerability. The parents could not find a bed for the night, and ended up in a smelly stable.
The first visitors that night were not princes or presidents from the seat of power, but shepherds who scratched out a living looking after sheep on the nearby hill sides.
The baby spent the first few months of life as a refugee, fleeing back home the long way in order to avoid the jealous King Herod.
These humble beginnings were carried on into adulthood. The whole life of Jesus was marked by compassion for the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, the fragile and the oppressed.
Who better to model life changing compassion for us than Jesus who began his life in a stable, ended up on the Cross, and rose from the dead to be with us forever?
Our world is becoming increasingly fragile. This year the COVID -19 Pandemic has affected so many people. People have been forced to isolate by themselves for long periods of time. This causes anxiety. Residents of nursing homes have passed away without their family having the opportunity to say goodbye let alone attend their funerals. This leaves families grieving.
Peoples whose lives have been turned upside down by COVID -19 will once again this Christmas hear the story of the birth of Christ despite the fact they have suffered so much and continue to do so. The words of the Angle to the Shepherds, “Do not be afraid. Listen I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole world. Today a savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord”. Luke 2:11-12. In trying to make sense of all that has happened to them they could well ask, where is the joy that comes with Christ’s birth?
Christ was born into our world died, on a Cross and rose again to assure our Redemption. In the time between his birth and death Christ’s life speaks to us of suffering, rejection, judgement, death and Resurrection. He was condemned to death on account of the compassion he showed to others. Christ’s death came at a great personal cost to himself. As we once again hear the story of Christ’s let us be reassured of his presence with us at this time.
This could be a time when we show the compassion of Christ to others. We could visit a friend who may be separated from their family for months, visit someone who has lost a loved one in the pandemic or support, those organisations trying to make a difference to people’s lives.
I would like to wish you and your family the joy and peace the birth of the Infant Jesus came to bring us.