“We await for the birth with sheer gladness”. The Rev. Leonard Oakes

Christmas Eve Homily
December 24, 2015 at 7 PM.

In every drama or a play like the one our pageant casts did wonderfully tonight, there is a beginning, a development, a climax, an ending and recapitulation. The story of the birth of Christ is the beginning of the story told of old that a child will be born and be called Emmanuel, God with us, the son of the living God is with us. The story developed when this prophecy of old came true in the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem of Judea. This story was further developed when the rumor came to the ears of Herod the king who became fearful and threatened of the presence of this new kid in town. He had asked everyone who may have a knowledge where to find this child who will be born king and will be the savior of all. Wisemen from the East came and inquired from Herod about the star they have seen and have been following from afar. Herod had asked them to find the star, and if found, to return and report to him so that he too could go and worship him. But the men were wise enough to know that Herod has dark plot to kill and eliminate the child. Herod was indignant and uncertain on what to do to save his honor and glory. A lot of things were playing in his mind. What if the child will take over my throne? What will happen to me? NO! Not on my watch! So the horrible things happened. King Herod ordered all first born male to be killed, hundreds and thousands of them in all of Israel. I have seen that place called hades or hell just outside the walls of jerusalem where it was told that blood of children flowed in the Kidron valley, the valley of death. What horrid deed had he done? Slain all first born children to save his name and pride. That is the sad story behind the birth of the one who is to come, the light of the world, the son of the living God, the messiah, the savior, the Christ. The development of the story lead into the climax when this Child grew and became a teacher, healing and opening the eyes of the blind, even raising a dead man into life. Until at last he was crucified died and was buried. But his death was the price of our sins and once again we are made one with God. The ending of the story is his resurrection and ascension to heaven where he seated at the right hand of God the Father. His death and resurrection are the focal point of our faith, where if the crucifixion did not happen, there will be no resurrection, but he has to resurrect so that we too become partakers of the eternal life he has promised. The ending is not like those in the movies. There has to be a recapitulation of this story as we await for his coming again. Jesus said he will come again at the end of the world, we do not know when? Thus, we do this the whole year round so that we won’t forget the reason why we are here in the first place. So that we may continue to walk humbly with God. Because if we forget, there will be chaos in this world especially now that every thing seem to have camouflaged the meaning of the birth of the light who was sent to be among us and dwell with us, our Savior Jesus Christ. People have continuously eat of the apple in the garden because they want to become god and eradicate God from the face of the Earth. Consumerism have changed the plot of the story. It is slowly drifting into the abyss because people are letting it happen in exchange of being nice and accommodating to other non believers whose aim is to erase God in history. There are about 2.5 billion Christians in the whole world celebrating at this moment the gift of God in this light who is with us, who is one of us, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We celebrate because we believe. In celebrating, we become vigilant of the Second Coming.

Let us not therefore allow ourselves to fall into the same pit those self seeking and self centered powers continue to do to eliminate the Christ in our lives. Let us not allow ourselves to be part of the ideology of consumerism by trying to retract the focus of the reason of this season but rather we keep our lights shining among people so that God in heaven will be glorified and not ourselves.
Last night, our youth, representing the Asian Commission in the Diocese of California, brought love to the shelter residents at St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in San Francisco. We have seen the people’s faces the smiles and hope in life because of people like us and those support such movement to feed and reach out to the poor and the homeless around us.

Let us all share God’s love to all with unceasing prayers and honor God in the most high. That is the message of Christmas; to share God’s love and be of service to each other and to everyone. Let us hold our children and our grandchildren close to our hearts and treasure them. Let us again and again be gathered here at Church and in our homes to celebrate the Love and the joy of the birth and renew our commitment to each other and the world around us. Please keep in your hearts and minds those who are without in the world. Pray they too will have a glimpse of what we enjoy. Give love this Christmas and everyday. To love and be loved is the duty we have as people of God. Let us wait for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ with sheer gladness and great expectations!

Let me offer you a Christmas song tonight with all my heart in it. You may sing it with me to make the night feel better:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on, our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Kindly turn to the person next and around you and just give them a big hug and a smile greeting them, “Merry Christmas”

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