Jesus is Born in You

Jesus is Born in You

Luke 1:39-45

So my constant refrain in my head through the whole of this Advent in particular has been, does anybody see Jesus alive in me? Is Jesus so strongly living inside me that other people can’t be anything other than, wow, Jesus is working in this person.

[automatically transcribed]

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen, please sit.

In this fourth week of Advent, we honour Mary, and I can preach about Mary until the cows come home in every conceivable way. Because for me, she offers me the easiest way to find the path to Jesus. Because I can look at Mary and see her not just as a Saint in heaven, not just as somebody who prays for me and wants the best for me, as a mother wants for her son, but as somebody who lived as a human with Jesus. And she held Jesus as a baby.

She fed him. She brought him into the world. She understood him entirely as a human being. But she also understood him as the man who would hang upon that cross, that her joy, her soul would be pierced by a sword.

Mary understands that with a Crown of joy comes the Cross of sorrow. To be a Christian is not to be shielded from pain, not to be protected from pain and hurt in the world. But to know that in that pain you are walking alongside Jesus Christ, and he is walking alongside you. And then in that partnership, and in that love, you will be given the strength you need to face any pain in the world. And this week, in daily Mass, we’ve been developing the theme, the idea that what we’re waiting for in Jesus coming on Christmas Day is not some external thing. It’s not something that’s happening out there, although, of course, that’s the way we tend to think about it.

We tend to think about Jesus coming into our Nativity scenes.

And in fact, today we’ll be blessing your Bambinos from your Nativity scenes during Mass. We’re not talking about those external things. It’s not a mere birthday, but what we are celebrating. And what we are preparing for is Jesus being born in us, not an external going along to a birthday party. Done, there we go. We’ve had the lovely dinner. We’ve had the presence. We’ve done that. There it is.

It’s gone. No, Jesus being born in us again, a new afresh. And the thing is, of course, we know that what happens is that over time we forget what that feeling of Jesus working inside us is like. And Jesus, we allow ourselves to drift away from Jesus. So what Advent does every year is it grabs hold of us, and it pulls us back to that reality, that Jesus exists inside us.

That is what we are really preparing for on Christmas Day, Jesus being born once again in us, not as a one time thing, not just something that happens. And then that’s it. But as a constant thing, as something that happens over and over and over again. And you know, when that happens, when we allow that to happen, when we allow Jesus to be born in us, when we follow in the footsteps of Mary and say, yes, God, your will will be done. When we say that, then something mysterious and wonderful happens and people notice it.

People see it. I’ve seen it so often when people are changed at baptism. I’ve seen it here recently. People changed in that moment when Jesus comes and sets up home inside people’s hearts. We have it in today’s gospel, the very model of how people recognise it. In Elizabeth and with John, the first thing that happens when Mary arrives to see Elizabeth is that John leaps in his mother’s womb.

He recognises Jesus in the womb of Mary and then immediately Elizabeth recognises Jesus in Mary recognising the miracle of Jesus alive inside her.

So my constant refrain in my head through the whole of this Advent in particular has been, does anybody see Jesus alive in me? Is Jesus so strongly living inside me that other people can’t be anything other than, wow, Jesus is working in this person.

And I ask myself that every day will Jesus recognise, will people recognise Jesus in me?

So this is a good question to ask yourself this week ahead of Christmas Day, when you are out in the world, will people see Jesus alive in you?

Because I tell you what, it doesn’t matter how many complex plans we have to bring people to Church doesn’t matter how many leaflets we give out, how loudly we sing Carols on Saturday mornings, how many mice pies we give out, how warm the mulled wine is, or isn’t.

It doesn’t matter what our plans are. Because what brings people to Jesus Christ is them seeing Jesus in other people. It’s seeing the difference that he makes in their lives. That is how people come to a personal relationship and a love of Jesus Christ.

That is exactly how new people have come to this Church through the parent and toddler group and the wonderful baptisms we had last week that happened because she saw Jesus in people at work.

That happened because the young lady came and saw Jesus at work in Terry, as embarrassed as he’ll be for me to say it, that happened because she saw Jesus at work in Mary Ruth, that happened because she saw Jesus at work in this place.

So spend this week before Christmas Day comes asking yourself, what is it that shines forth the light of Jesus in my life? How can I get ready to renew and refresh myself so that people may see that may understand that and may want to know more about it and will ask me if they can come to my Church if they can come and be baptised because my gosh, you are blessed.

You are so blessed and I want some of that blessing.

Do that for me this week. Ask yourself, how do people know that Jesus is alive in me?