To listen to today’s homily, please select the audio file below:
“I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
why Jesus, our Savior, was born for to die,
for poor, orn’ry people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.”
Wonder is a Christmas word; we hear it in the carols we sing and in the words we hear and in the prayers we say. Wonder is our reaction to something beyond what we expect, beyond our experience and our understanding, so big it leaves us lost for words.
We need wonder these days to lift up our minds and hearts.
Listen to the gospel story from St. Luke:
‘In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.” Caesar Augustus, the ruler of the world gives an order. “Quirinius was governor of Syria.” Quirinius , Caesar’s enforcer for Palestine, orders his jurisdiction to be counted. The mighty and the powerful of this world have spoken.
But the high and mighty, the politicians, the generals, the money people don’t impress Luke. Rather, his eyes are drawn to a couple in the multitude being enrolled, a couple from an insignificant town in Galilee called Nazareth– Joseph and his betrothed wife Mary, who was with child. They’re on their way to Bethlehem.
“While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke goes on in his gospel to tell about this child born in Bethlehem, who grows up in Nazareth, who begins to preach and work marvels in Galilee, who gathers excited followers and then goes up to Jerusalem where he’s arrested, sentenced to death, crucified, then raised from the dead. Luke goes on to describe the followers of Jesus who take his message to the ends of the earth and to us today.
That marvelous story begins in Bethlehem, where a Child in swaddling clothes is laid in a manger, because there’s no room in the inn. That marvelous story goes on. It changes the way we look at ourselves and the world in which we live. God is quietly at work in our world, unnoticed, unacknowledges, God is with us.
There’s wonder in this story, a wondrous love’s behind it. This Child is God become like us, like “poor, orn’ry creatures like you and like I.” So unexpected, so beyond our experience and understanding, beyond words.
Today’s a day that calls us to wonder. Let’s not lose that gift that takes us beyond where we are. Begin with the world in which we live, the world around us as we “wander out under the sky.” However difficult and dark this world can be, there’s a wonder to it. We’ve been gifted with the wonderful gift of life, which we carry in the flesh and blood that is ours, the gift of life we have in our families and our friends and all of those around us. Let’s not take them for granted.
Then, there’s the gift of God we remember today, a God not distant but close, a God not removed from our experience but sharing it, a God who loves us so much that he wishes to become one with us, a God who would die for us and bring us the promise of life that never ends. Let’s not take God for granted.
“I wonder as I wander out under the sky, why Jesus our Savior was born for to die, for poor orn’ry people like you and like I. I wonder as I wander out under the sky.”