Homily for Christmas Eve Morning

2 Samel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Luke 1:67-79

Before we attend to the last minute details of our preparations for Christmas today, perhaps it would do us good to take a moment to consider how well this business and fussiness is truly preparing us to receive the Lord Jesus, whose coming is now imminent.

In our first reading today King David tells the prophet Nathan that he has become convinced of the need to prepare a suitable dwelling place – to build a temple – for the Arc of the Covenant, which is the sign of God’s presence among the people. God tells Nathan that a permanent dwelling is not all that important. 

What, then, is important? How do we best receive the Christ who comes to us and give honor our God? The prophet Micah tells us in another part of the Scriptures that we do all that is necessary when we “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.”

Are our last minute preparations focused primarily on getting things done according to our own plans and designs – that is, are we into temple-building,  or will our preparations help to strengthen our relationships with God and one another? Temple-building leads to holiday snits, while preparing to honor God by receiving Christ in each of our brothers and sisters with whom we live and work will guide our feet into the way of peace.

Through this Eucharist may we be strengthened to carry out the most important details of our preparations so that we may receive the Lord with justice, kindness, and humility as he comes to us like the dawn from on high.

Fr. Doug Mullin, OSB, is Vice President for Student Development at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.

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