Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: December 25, 2018
One Christmas morning during World War II, there was a soldier on duty. It had been his custom to go to church every Christmas morning with his family, but now, in service on the outlying districts of London, this was impossible. So, with some of his soldier buddies, as dawn was breaking, he walked down the road that led to the city.
Soon they came upon an old, grey, stone building over whose main door were carved the words, “Queen Ann’s Orphanage.” They decided to knock and see what kind of celebration was taking place inside. In response, a matron came and explained that the children were orphans whose parents had been killed in one of the many bombings that took place in London.
The soldiers went inside as the children were tumbling out of bed. There was no Christmas tree in the corner. There were no presents. The soldiers moved around the room wishing the children , Merry Christmas and giving them whatever gifts they had in their pockets: a stick of chewing gum, a Life Saver, a nickel, a pencil, a pocket knife, a good luck charm.
The soldier who had gotten his buddies together noticed a little fellow alone in the corner, that little fellow looked an awful lot like his nephew back home. So he approached him and said, “And you, little guy, what do you want for Christmas?” The little boy replied, “Will you hold me?” The soldier, with tears brimming in his eyes picked up the little boy and held him very close in his arms.
Christmas is about God coming to take us in his arms and hold us. The Infinite Spirit became one of us, to be seen, heard, and touched. Then Jesus left us the Sacraments like this Eucharist, so that again God is able to hold us in a way we can see, hear, and feel.
Once we have been held by God, we are to go out to help God to hold others, especially those in need.
On this Silent Night of Christmas, I ask all of you to close your eyes and let us take a moment of silence. In your heart, imagine God holding you…..
This Christmas, God wants you to know that you are not alone, you are not forgotten, you matter, you are loved.
Once we know that then we are to go out and be with others in such a way that no one is left alone, no one is forgotten, no one is treated as though they do not matter.
This should influence everything we do, our politics, our economics, our education system, our family life, our church.
That little boy asked only one thing from the soldier that Christmas morning, “Will you hold me?” As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, God is saying to each one of you, each one of us, “I will hold you.”