Christmas Day December 25, 2017 at Saint William Churche in Naples. FL
Isaiah 9, 1-6 + Psalm 96 + Titus 2, 11-14 + Luke 2, 1-14
In an age when facts are dismissed as “fake news”, and history itself is ignored or rewritten by political regimes and ideologues to justify their ideas, we are left wonder what to make of this Gospel as we acknowledge a growing phenomenon of our age: skepticism. So, we look at this Gospel and wonder: Is this fact or fake news? Is this real history or just a romantic old story we tell every December in order to feel connected to something we can’t quite name?
For the first time in history the sum of human knowledge is literally in the palm of our hands. Yet we seem painfully out of touch or ignorant of our own history. Like trees without deep roots, we are easily blown down by the slightest gale, disappointment, or challenge. Dementia is often considered one of the greatest tragedies when a person loses their memory. Yet we are at risk of losing our collective memory which is far more dangerous, because without it we are doomed to repeat over and over again the same tragic and violent mistakes.
“Fake News” comes in an age of the skeptic for those who only believe what they want to see and deny what they cannot understand. Yet the most real things in this world are those no one can see. We can’t see air, but it’s there. You can’t see snow on a Colorado mountain right now, but it’s there. You can’t see beauty, but you can see something that is beautiful. You can’t see Joy, but you can see joyful people. You can’t see love; but you can see a lover or someone who loves you.
A skeptical and dangerous world watches Christian people gather everywhere in the world today. They are watching us remember and share news that no one dare call “fake” when it is lived day after day. There can be nothing fake about our faith any more than there is something fake about God’s love for us. There is nothing fake about us being led to see beauty in a baby and have our hopes for peace stirred by a birth no matter where it happens or when.
This is our day to remember that God is not off somewhere in distant heavens; but has and is acting in human history living, breathing, suffering, dying and rising with us and within us. This is our day to remember that the Birth of Christ is not confined to a date in December, but is celebrated on the date of every Baptism and every Birth into Everlasting life. We believe this to be true not because someone told us so or because we read it in this book, but because we are here today, and because nothing has nor will ever put us down for long.
A study reported in the Naples Daily News last week reveals something we all hope to be true. People who live the longest and fullest lives are people who make friends and keep them. Lives that are rich, full, and long all have one thing in common: friendship. Sceptics should beware. At the heart of our celebration today is the fact that our God has revealed a desire to be a friend to us. His only Son expressed that desire, and was born to restore that friendship as it was in the beginning. There is nothing fake about that news, and our history, when remembered, shows that peace, joy, love never lived are never real. Yet today we proclaim in this place by our presence that Divine peace, Godly love, and human Joy have come to life.