24 December 1, 2019
Isaiah 52, 7-10 + Psalm 98 + Hebrews 1, 1-6 + Luke 2, 1-20
For the children at St. Peter the Apostle & St. William Churches in Naples, FL
(The children have been given a wrapped gift box containing the statue of the infant for the creche. It has been opened by several of the children and then in procession they have taken the “gift of Jesus:” to the creche. Then, gathering around the presider’s chair I continued.)
We have this wonderful day called, “Christmas” because of one very important word. Because Mary used that word and taught her son to use it, we are here tonight. If we can learn to use that word, many wonderful things can happen in this world. Learning the word is easy, but learning when to use the word is the hard part. When you use that word at the right time, wonderful things happen. When you use the word at the wrong time, things can go wrong.
The blessed mother knew that word. She learned it from her parents. She used that word one day, and everything started to go right. It is a word your mother and father have used, and one time when they used that word right, wonderful things started to happen. That important word is” Yes.”
One day, a long time ago, a message came from God to Mary. God asked her to do something she didn’t understand. It was something that meant she might have to change her plans and do something she did not want to do right then. She did not say: “No.” Her answer to God was, “Yes.” If she had said ‘No”, we would not be here tonight so happy and so full of joy. “Yes” is the word we have to learn how to use. On another day a long time ago, one of your parents asked the other one to do something: to marry them. That day they used that word and something wonderful happened. They started to make a home and get ready to welcome you; and it’s all because of that good word, “yes.”
You know what happens we you say: “No.” If Mom or Dad asks you to do something like clean up your room or pick up your things or come and help and you say, “no” – things go wrong and no one is happy. But sometimes you have to say “no”, and that is the hard part: knowing when to say “no.” If one of your friends is doing something wrong and they want you to join them, you have to say: “no.” That’s the hard part, knowing when to say “yes” and knowing when to say, “no.”
Saying “yes” to your parents and your teachers helps you to know what God wants you to do, and it gets you ready to say “yes” to God. Tonight, all the world is celebrating and filled with joy and hope because someone knew when to say “yes,” and because people like your mother and father have continued to say “yes” for a long time.
Mary said it. She taught Jesus to say it, and now, Jesus is teaching you to say it. When you say, “yes” to God, wonderful things happen. There will be peace and forgiveness, love and joy; and all those wonderful things will not go away. So, what is that wonderful word God wants us to learn and use wisely?