St Michael and All Angels

Observatory, Cape Town

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Christmas Day : Fr Tony Hogg

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 ‘In the beginning was the Word…All things were made by him; without him 
was not anything made that was made.”
This, for St John, is the Christmas story and it is set in the context of creation. 
“In the beginning”. Creation is not an event of the past but the ongoing life of 
God with his people. St John echoes and continues the Genesis story of 
creation. “In the beginning God said, ‘Let there be…’ and there was ’Land, 
sky, vegetation, living creatures from the water, birds of the air, living 
creatures from the earth, and humankind made in the image and likeness of 
God.
Christmas is God continuing to give life to his people. “And the Word became 
flesh and lived among us.” It is the festival of creation. It is God giving God’s 
own life to his people. It is as if God said: “I want humanity to see my face. I 
want them to hear my voice. I want them to touch me. I want them to smell 
my sweat. I want them to eat my body. I want to live their life. I want them to 
live my life. This is God in the flesh, the divine human, holy humanity.
This festival of re-creation is God’s celebration of humanity. It is God 
entrusting God’s self to human beings, to you and to me. It is God’s 
reaffirmation of humanity’s goodness. It is the sharing and exchanging of life 
between God and you and me. That’s why the early church could say that 
God became human so that humanity might became God. The Son of God 
became the son of man so that the sons of men might became sons of God.
 Divinity was clothed in humanity so that humanity might be clothed in 
divinity.
How beautiful, my dears, is that? Imagine what that means for us. It means 
that we are holy and intended to be holy, not as an achievement on our own 
but as a gift of God. This is the gift of Christmas. We have been given the 
power to become the sons of God. This happens not by blood, or the will of 
flesh, or the will of the people, but by God. “And the Word became Flesh and
 dwelt among us.”
In the Jewish tradition that rabbis tell is a story that each person has a 
procession of angels going before them and crying out, ’Make way for the 
image of God’
Everywhere we go the angels go with us announcing the coming of the image 
of God and reminding us of who we are. That is the truth of Christmas for us. 
It is also the Christmas truth for the person living next door, for those we love, 
for those we fear, for those who are like us and those who are different, for the 
stranger, and for our enemies. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt 
among us.”
It means that Christmas cannot be limited to an event. Christmas is a life to
 be lived, a way of being. Perhaps we should stop asking, “How was your 
Christmas?” but rather, “How are you Christmassing?” Are we recognizing 
the ‘word became flesh’ in our lives, in the lives of others. Do we see the 
procession of angels and hear their voices?
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Word became flesh 
and has never ceased among us. The Word became flesh and will never cease 
living among us. So make way. Whatever you are doing. Whoever you are 
with. Make way for the image of God. And so from today and onwards and 
upwards may you Christmas your way through life.
 
Amen
 
 

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