SOMEDAY AT CHRISTMAS – A CELEBRATION OF HOPE
HOMILY – 4 ADVENT [C] 2018
Radio cricket commentators talk a lot. They have to. There is no place for silence on radio; no pictures to fill any gaps. Even so, the constant cricket talk got to me on Monday and I switched programmes. I think I was meant to, because there was an interview with a Year 12 Papatoetoe High School student, Silika Isaia. This very talented singer had been invited to perform a Christmas song and she chose a Stevie Wonder composition, Someday at Christmas.
Someday at Christmas men won’t be boys
Playing with bombs like kids play with toys
One warm December our hearts will see
a world where people are free.
Someday at Christmas there’ll be no wars
When we have learned what Christmas is for
When we have found what life’s really worth
There’ll be peace on earth.
Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where people are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmas time.
Our first reading names the place where the promised One would be born: Bethlehem. It’s the prophecy later quoted to Herod when he heard there were royal visitors looking for the new born King of the Jews. It terrified him that he might have a rival. Bethlehem was not a name that gave him hope. Herod is that part of each of us that puts self on the top shelf. Nothing and no one can get in the way.
The gospel gives us the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth – a picture of calm celebration, despite it being for them a time of deep uncertainty. Mary is still grappling with the circumstances of her pregnancy; the hill country she travels through does not guarantee safety. Yet her concern for her elder cousin, together with her dignity and faith, has Elizabeth proclaiming: Of all women you are the most blessed. – a proclamation of hope.
Someday at Christmas man will not have failed
Hate will be gone and love will prevail
There’ll be a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart.
Someday at Christmas there’ll be no tears
When all people are equal and none have fears
One shining moment, one prayer away
From our world today.
Is what we are yearning for – peace and togetherness – is it just a prayer away? Then what’s stopping us?
Mary, Elizabeth and the others we meet in the Christmas story were very ordinary people, but they show a deep level of trust – and a willingness to accept what for the moment doesn’t make much sense – that impels them well beyond their individual talents.
The cricket was washed out, but Christmas stays through all weathers, giving us chance after chance. There is wonder and hope in this most incredible story: the God of all creation becoming one of us! Just as every birth rekindles hope in humanity, every Christmas tells us that the world is not lost, and neither are we.
Hold that hope. Someday at Christmas…