Bp. Elmer’s homily on Christmas Eve-Madrid, Spain
Commonly, human labor takes place during the day, and night-time is when human rests and cease from human activity or inactivity with few exceptions, such as hospitals. At times, symbolically, night means spiritual darkness.
Ironically, while we usually think of dawn as a universal beginning of a new day, it is not the case, except in certain countries. For example, the day begins at sunset with the Jews, Athenians, Chinese, Mohammedans, Italians, and Bohemians; at sunrise with the Babylonians, Syrians, Persians, and modern Greeks; at noon with ancient Egyptians and modern astronomers; at midnight with the English, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, and Americans.
There are significant divine biblical activities that took place at night. In Exodus 12: the plague of the firstborn, happened in the middle of the night. Immediately after, the departure and journey of the Hebrew people from slavery to the land of promise. God provided the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
Jesus in many occasion prayed at night such as before choosing the twelve disciples prayed all night. Mark 1:35 – Jesus would pray at a time when it was dark until the transitioning of daybreak. Maybe Jesus did not want to be disturbed or was busy in the daytime ministering to people. Jesus prayed under the heavens, and not only spoke to God but also listened to the moon and the stars and the sun that had a tale to tell:
Psalms 19:1-2 – The heavens recount the glory of God, The firmament declare the works of His hands, day unto day tells the story And night unto night reveals the knowledge
An Aurora Borealis or sometimes referred to as polar lights; northern lights is a natural light display in the Earth’s sky, predominantly seen in the high-latitude regions (around the Arctic and Antarctic).
Christians are summoned to their receptive capacity of the human soul to attend to something relevant to something divine. In humanity’s inactive state, God does things beyond our human comprehension. Tonight is the holiest of all nights — holy means set apart for divine use or activity.
Something extraordinary happened tonight, which we celebrate only to remember but to awaken our soul to its significance.
It was an extraordinary night; it was a holy night; it was a night of divine intervention, visitation, and activity.
It is when God comes down from heaven, Let us meet Him. It is when Christ descends to Earth, let us welcome Him that we might be might raised on high. It is when heaven and Earth in chorus rejoice. It is when light has overcome darkness. It is on this night, in the obscurity of the night, that light has shone. Tonight is a night to celebrate – this is a night to remember- this is a night to rejoice. It is in the silence of the night that God has spoken with a loud and sounding voice. It is in the darkness that light has shone the brightest
“What A Night”
That night when in the Judean skies
The mystic star dispensed its light,
A blind man moved in his sleep
And dreamed that he had sight.
That night when shepherds heard
The song of hosts angelic choiring near,
A deaf man stirred in slumber’s spell
And dreamed that he could hear.
That night when o’er the new-born babe
The tender Mary rose to lean,
A loathsome leper smiled in sleep,
And dreamed that he was clean.
That night when in the manger lay
The Sanctified who came to save,
A man moved in the sleep of death,
And dreamed there was no grave.