I have just arrived home after celebrating the first three Masses of Christmas: Amberley 5.00pm, Culverden 7.00pm and Hanmer Springs 9.00pm. In the past 30 hours I have also driven 640km. And all the effort is worth it so much that it is not really an effort. It is a pleasure and a privilege to celebrate the heart of human existence with parishioners and their friends and family.
There were more children than expected at the Amberley Mass. I asked them a couple of questions. The first (prompted by news reports of Children thinking that Christmas was the anniversary of Santa’s birth): “Who was born at the first Christmas.” The children were bright and responded that Christmas was the anniversary of Jesus’ birth.
When I asked where Jesus was living now the children as one voice thought that Jesus lived in heaven. I asked where heaven was, and their little hands pointed upwards. I wonder if these children (and their parents who may well have given the same answer) have missed the point of the feast. This feast reminds us that Jesus Christ lives among us, and is available to us, and easily accessible to anyone who seeks him.
I gave the children a big word to remember. We often see it on Christmas cards and posters: Emmanuel, a name that means, “God is with us.”