Homily – December 25, 2021

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
Year C

I have always been a big fan of the Peanuts cartoon. In fact, Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my favorite holiday movies. Recently I came across something I never knew about the movie … When CBS approached Charles Schultz to do a Christmas special featuring the Peanuts characters, he insisted that they allow him to include the story of birth of Jesus – Schultz was a devout Christian. How could we forget Linus’ great speech on “what Christmas is all about”? Linus is the character who sucks his thumb and carries around a blanket. Have you ever seen Linus without the blue blanket? Probably not … except when he tells the story of Jesus’ birth – when the angels appear to the shepherds and say “fear not” – at that he drops the blanket and does not pick it back up until he finishes the story. He lays it down one more time when he wraps it under the tree. The tree then stands tall and strong, and Linus says: “maybe it just needs a little love.”

Ideas affect actions. How we think of others influences how we relate to a person. If we deem a person to be kind, we will most likely treat that person with kindness as well. If we think a person is unkind, stingy, arrogant, we might deal with that person coldly or from a distance. What about God? What do we think God is like? The Catechism teaches us that God is the beginning and end of all things – we are created to live in communion with Him, in relationship with Him. How we think of God will influence that relationship.

Yet, who is He? What’s the secret to Him that has the capacity to change the hearts of Scrooges, Grinches and even a disheartened Charlie Brown? Simply put: God is Love. He entered the world of suffering, sin, injustice, pain and sorrow … He did so to bring us into right-relationship with Him, to show us that He never gives up on those whom He loves … because maybe we just need a little love.

We may think that the world had gone mad… that for some reason we are being punished – particularly since this pandemic lingers… Yet each Christmas God reminds us that He hasn’t given up on us… so why should we give up on Him? The angel tells the Shepherds “fear not”; “do not be afraid” … it was only at that moment did Linus drop his blanket … In that singular moment, Linus shows that before God there is no fear … as long as we have the willingness, the capacity to let go of our own blankets, lay aside our own fears and misconceptions to recognize that God, in His mercy, does not give up on us – because He loves us … 2,000 years ago He entered the world as a baby… Today He comes to us in the form of bread and wine. He meets us where we are at with the that same message – I have not given up on you because we all need a little love.

May we who receive, God’s divine Love, have the courage to return Him a little love… For God has not given up on us, nor should we give up on Him … This is what helps us to stand tall and strong – just like Charlie Brown’s tree – in faith, hope and in love… because that is what Christmas is all about…

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