Father Gavin Landers
Christmas to me is all about wonder and amazement. The traditional Midnight Mass, preceded by the singing of Carols, is the best way I can enter into the mystery of Christmas. From being a small child I was always brought to Midnight Mass (which was actually at Midnight), by my Mum and Dad, and, although I could barely keep my eyes open, the night always seemed so full of hope and excitement. As a child, and even to today, I try each year to pretend, just for a moment, that Jesus has not yet been born, so that when the bells start ringing at the ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’, my heart once again begins to gain pace and I feel so excited that this night is a new night; a night just like like 2000 years ago when the shepherds heard the angels singing the Gloria on the very first Christmas.
What is Christmas if not that ‘a child has been born, a son has been given and his name is Emmanuel - God with us!’ This is the radical ‘craziness’ of God; He humbles Himself and is born into this world. God is with us! This is the experience of the magi or ‘wise men’, who were so struck by the appearing of the star, that they were impelled by wonder to see what the star shone upon. Just as the magi had renewal in their lives by seeing Jesus and offering Him gifts, so too I desire this renewal, and wish, once again, to offer myself as gift to Him who gave me life.
This year I will celebrate Midnight Mass as a Priest for the first time, and God’s craziness is shown again; God will use me, as His priest, to make Himself present during the Mass in the Eucharist. Speechless.
This year I will once again pretend, just for a moment, that Jesus has not yet been born into the world, and at that moment, for me, this world is covered in darkness and sin, but, at the ringing of the bells, I will be ready to welcome Him into my life; welcome the light into the world; welcome the prince of peace; welcome the Saviour of the World! Jesus makes sense of my life, and that's Christmas to me.