December 25, 2014 - Christmas, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the Germans invading France and Belgium in the First World War.
Each side dug trenches and shot at each other from a no-man’s land littered with dead soldiers.
But on December 24, 1914 at points along that Western Front, an impromptu peace came upon the troops.
This Christmas truce bubbled up from the ranks, says historian Stanley Weintraub. Troops emerged from the trenches exchanging promises, “You no shoot, we no shoot.”
In many places the truce extended into Christmas day as the soldiers buried the dead, held prayer services, sang Christmas carols and shared food and gifts sent from home.
Weintraub says no one wanted to continue the war, but they were ordered to do so.
In a letter home, one soldier wrote, “How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange.”
These words describe the miracle of Christmas. The virgin gives birth to a child and he is named Emmanuel, God with us. This Christmas miracle is marvelously wonderful.
When we see with the eyes of faith, we begin to find examples of the impossible becoming possible everywhere in our lives.
Sometime the Christmas miracle happens to us.
Like when the punk kid, with the scary looking chains and piercings, rushes to hold the door open as we make our way out of the mall with all our Christmas packages. We stop to say thank you and notice the beautiful smile.
Or like when our long lost child finally comes home for the holidays. And we are smart enough to realize that what our child needs most of all is gentle compassion, merciful forgiveness and loving acceptance.
Sometimes we make it possible for the Christmas miracle to happen to others.
Like when we secretly give Christmas gifts to the family down the road who wouldn’t have Christmas otherwise, and they don’t even know it’s us. What a generous and humble Christmas miracle.
Or when we act with greater charity and kindness towards others, seeing the miracle they are and treating them accordingly.
Sometimes we are the Christmas miracle.
Like when those soldiers dropped their weapons in peace, they became the Christmas miracle.
Or when a dying loved one gathers family together to say goodbye before slipping off peacefully into eternal life.
Or when we gather with family and friends to celebrate Christmas. The time spent together in the presence of loved ones is such a miracle and a blessing.
When we have faith, we can find examples of the impossible becoming possible everywhere in our lives.
When we allow God to be our guest, our lives begin to be filled with wonder and awe, how marvelously wonderful, the impossible becoming possible.
The virgin mother gives birth to a son and God makes his dwelling with us. The impossible becomes possible. How marvelously wonderful, this miracle we call Christmas.