Here was my homily from the Chidren's Christmas Eve Mass:
I ask all of the children to come forward and sit in the sanctuary…welcome to all of you. On behalf of Fr. Mike and the whole staff here at St. Andrew’s, Merry Christmas!! What I want to know is what kind of gifts you kids have asked for this Christmas. But, it’s not the usual, humdrum gifts…what kind of different or crazy or wacky gifts have you asked for? You know, ones that are a little off-the-wall, and made your parents kind of scratch their heads, and think, ‘what is this?’ Ok, yes, what wacky stuff have you asked for? (answers ranged from MP3 players to Batman Forever dolls to empty boxes filled with nothing…also, a few comments were made by yours truly about these gift ideas).
Ok, now, let me tell you some of the ideas from my list (I pull out a very large book of paper that is thicker than most dictionaries!). “Fr Greg’s Christmas Gift List 2006” (oohs, aahs, laughs, and wows from the congregation). That’s the reaction Fr. Mike had when he saw this. Anyway, I’ve got charts and graphs here, even directions for the big trucks and helicopters bringing presents on how to get to St Andrew’s. Let’s see, there is a section here in the middle that is called “wacky gifts”. Oh yes, here it is. “One year supply of Golden Grahams cereal”. Yes, it is a bit odd. I know. And, I don’t even need to ask for it because Fr. Mike is very good to me. He buys Golden Grahams all the time…but he doesn’t eat them. He eats cereals like “All Bran” or “All Fiber” or something…cereals that men his age have to eat! (I hope Fr. Mike isn’t here in the back).
Anyway…ok, one last gift from my list. It’s in the back of the list under the section, “Miracle gifts”. It won’t happen this year, but maybe another year, this miracle will happen: “The Redskins win the Super Bowl” (mostly cheers, but some late boos are heard). Oh ho, booing in Church! I know, it will take a miracle…especially after they lost today.
So, we’ve talked about what’s on your list, and we’ve talked about what’s on my list. Now, what do you think is on Jesus’ list? By the way, what kind of list does Jesus make? We make Christmas lists, and Jesus makes a what list? A birthday list, that’s right. So, what is on Jesus’ birthday list? (“love”, “peace”, “forgiveness” are most of the answers). Those are all very good answers. Yes, you’re right. Now, Jesus’ list is even bigger than mine, and he doesn’t even ask for materialistic stuff like Fr. Greg does! He asks something of every person in the world…it’s what God wants from us.
You just heard the Gospel where Joseph did what God wanted. What did God want Joseph to do? He wanted Joseph to take Mary as his wife and be Jesus’ father on earth, that’s right. And, Joseph did it. God wanted Mary to be Jesus’ mother. And, Mary did it. In fact, Mary always did what God wanted her to do. Of course, Jesus always did what God the Father wanted him to do.
Now, it is hard to do what Jesus wants, isn’t it? It’s hard to be loving to your brothers and sisters all the time, isn’t it? That’s why Jesus helps us to do it. How doe she help us? Specifically, he will come to us in the next few minutes and help us in a major way. What is that? The Eucharist, that’s right. Can you all tell the “big kids” who are here tonight what we mean when we say the Eucharist? What is the Eucharist? The Body and Blood of Jesus, that’s right. It is really Jesus. Is it the same Jesus who was a baby in the manger 2000 years ago? Yes, it is. He just looks a little different, huh? He looked like a baby then, and he looks like what now? Bread, that’s right. But, it’s the same Jesus.
Ok, we are going to finish tonight with a chance for you all to show the “big kids” how well you can tell us what Christmas is all about. I’m going to ask you a question, and your answer will be, “because He loves us”. Now, be sure to say it loud enough for the people in the back to hear you. Also, I will give the adults here a chance to answer a question as well. You all are a big group, but they are a much bigger crowd. But, I have confidence that you all will show them how to do this.
Here’s the question: why did God send Jesus into world as a baby in the manger 2000 years ago? “BECAUSE HE LOVES US” (echoes very loudly throughout the Church)!! Wow, great job! Now, congregation, let’s see how you do. Pretend you’re at a Redskins game or something. Why does God give us Jesus in the Eucharist? “BECAUSE HE LOVES US” (again, very loudly). Kids, how did they do (half of the kids give thumbs up, half of the kids give thumbs down signs). I don’t know…of course, the adults are not happy with Fr. Greg because I didn’t give them the proper lead-in… Ok, last question, and then you all can return to your seats. Why did God send Jesus into world?
BECAUSE HE LOVES US (the loudest one yet)!!!! Great job! Thank you all very much, and Merry Christmas.