Celebrant: In Christmas joy and hope, let us present all our needs to God with confidence.
For the Holy Church of God throughout the world, that as she celebrates the birth of Christ, she may grow in holiness, we pray to the Lord…
For all those who do not yet believe in Christ, that they may know that today a Savior is born for them, we pray to the Lord…
For peace in the world, that nations may resolve their conflicts by giving themselves over the Christ, the Prince of Peace, we pray to the Lord…
For those who are alone or abandoned, for the oppressed and the hungry, the homeless, and the unborn, we pray to the Lord…
For all the sick of our families and our parish, that they may join their sufferings to the sufferings of Christ, we pray to the Lord…
For all those who have died, that by the power of Christ's birth on earth, they may be born in heaven, we pray to the Lord…
Father, the birth of your Son renews our hope.
As you answer our prayers,
Give us grace always to bear witness to him
before the world,
For he is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
Today, the greeting “Merry Christmas” is on our lips and in our hearts. What does this simple greeting mean? We know, of course, that for many people, things are not merry today, and that for all of us, there are certain things that cause us anxiety and sadness. There is evil in the world and in our lives. But “Merry Christmas” does not mean that we always feel happy, nor does it mean that everything is going our way. What it means instead is that even if everything else is falling apart, we always have access to God. Christ has come to lead us to the Father and bring us a new relationship with God and each other in the life that never ends. “Merry Christmas” means that even in the midst of sadness, we can never lose this gift. We simply need to take hold of it and be faithful. He is with us always, and that brings a peace and joy that the world can neither give nor take away. Merry Christmas!
Acts 13:16-17, 22-25
Mt 1:1-25 or 1:18-25
Jn 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14
Watch a video with homily hints
The wonder of Christmas is that the promised coming of the Messiah of the Lord was fulfilled in a surprising way that surpassed the hopes and dreams of the people of old. On the first Christmas night, angels announced Christ's birth to the shepherds. But instead of saying that Jesus was the Messiah of the Lord, they said that He is "Messiah and Lord" (Lk. 2:11). God, in other words, did not simply send someone to represent Him. He came Himself!
Because the child born is Lord, Christmas means more than welcoming the child. It means welcoming the one who will preach the Sermon on the Mount, instruct us by parables, give us the sacraments, and establish his Church. All of these Christmas presents are to be opened and used!
Christmas is about a God who created the human family, and then decided to become a member of that family. Christmas is not when Jesus began; it is when Jesus began existing as one of us, and thereby joined all of us to Himself. He joins to His Divinity all who share human nature: the weak and strong, the small and big, the born and unborn.
Therefore, welcoming the child demands welcoming all whom this child came to redeem, all who are united to God in him. It means welcoming the poor and destitute, the stranger and the alienated, the disabled and the unborn. Christmas is universal, and is about the exaltation of the human person.