Stars are fascinating and mysterious things: how we wonder what they are. We see them twinkling above without always knowing that what we see is light from a star that’s already dead. It takes thousands of light years for the light to reach us, and by the time it does, the star is already a lump of ash. It’s dead. No more nuclear fusion; no light.
The same can be true of Christmas. We see the lights twinkling; we sing the carols; we give the gifts; we eat the food and drink the drink. But the source of light can die, because there’s little or no sense of what lies at the heart of Christmas – God becoming one of us in the newborn child. Without a sense of that, the lights will eventually stop twinkling and there will be only the darkness. The carols will sound like cheap jingles; the gifts will cost too much; the food and drink will only give us indigestion.
But if we can believe that God actually took flesh in the newborn child, then the carols really sing, the simple gifts bring joy and the feed becomes a real feast. Then the Star never dies. There is unfailing light, whatever the darkness that comes. A very happy and light-filled Christmas to all.
May I wish you all a peaceful Christmas.
Catholic Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn Mark Coleridge will celebrate both the midnight Mass on Christmas eve and the 11am Mass on Christmas Day in St Christopher’s Cathedral, Manuka.