RCL Christmas Day II
Isaiah 62:6-12, Psalm 97, Titus 3:4-7, Saint Luke 2:1-20

Whether or not we hear the drumroll, whether or not we hear the angels sing, and whether or not we hear the silence of the holy night, we know, deep in our bones, that tonight is a special night, the most special night of nights.

What makes this night special?

Is it the old, old story that we just heard from start to finish? The story about an emperor and a tax? The story about a fledgling family returning home because of the emperor’s decree? The birth of a baby? The swaddling clothes? The poor shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night? Their fear when they see and hear the angels? The angels’ song? The humility of the shepherds who hasten to see the child lying in the manger? Or even the Blessed Mother who treasures all the shepherds’ words and ponders them in her heart?

All these things are part of a great, great story that we have repeatedly read and heard century after century. We come out on cold and icy nights in some years to hear it. But not one and not all of these things together make the old, old story great.

The old story is great and worthy of repeating century after century because the central character, the baby in the manger, is from the beginning and is the living end of all things. He lives now as he always has, from before time and beyond time. And furthermore, he has made himself known to people throughout the known world, century after century, so that we long to hear his story, and we yearn to be near him. The story is great, and the story is old, because it is about him. Almost any story about him would do.

Tonight is the most special night of nights for another reason also. In the familiar story we heard about him, and we see him at his most approachable. We see him at his most pitiable. He is seemingly defenseless. He seemingly needs the help any one of us could give. Any one of us could feed him, any one of us could clothe him, and any one of us could give him the shelter he needs to sustain his life. He is a baby, and as a baby he pulls from us all the love and all the emotion that every baby in the history of the world would pull from us.

And these two reasons that this night is so special give rise to a third reason this is the most special night of nights. Because this night is about him, and because we see him when he pulls from us our deepest love, tonight is a golden opportunity.

If we know him not, if we trust him not, or if we have withheld our love from him for any reason, tonight is the easiest time to change our course. This is the night, the holy night, to give him our love. Tonight is the night when we can most easily discover who we are by declaring who he is. This is the night when we discover the meaning of everything that is by connecting this baby with the Word, the Word that was with God, and the Word that was God.[1] And when we make that connection, we shall have done the best and the most that a human being can do.

[1] Saint John 1:1.