Strangely enough the words have much in common.
Christmas is short for Christ Mass which is another way of saying a Mass for Christ’s Birthday. If you did not
know, the Mass (and we put theology aside for the moment), is the Roman Catholic word for the equivalent of
our Communion. Other words, such as Eucharist or Holy Communion, have the same basic meaning.
Now, Communion as we know it wasn’t always conducted the way that it is in many of our churches today –
even with the minor variations that we might notice. If you haven’t read it, look at 1st Corinthians, chapter
11:17-34 and some of the following verses. After reading that it is easy to see why the conduct of the Communion
requires a prayerful approach and a realisation that we are in the presence of the Lord during its celebration.
In the same way the 25th December wasn’t always celebrated by Anglo Saxons the way we celebrate it.
For them Christmas was the middle of winter. So the Church symbolically took the middle of the long night of winter and
brought life into it. If a cold winter is a season of no growth, the relevance is easily seen. Into the winter’s night of the
soul – into the soul seeking its Creator – Jesus Christ comes and brings life.
Life? Yes, Life with a capital “L”. It’s a way of life which makes you see the world differently. Values change, people
become important, you become agents of love, people with a mission which never stops – people who don’t wait to be
helped but become people who help. Criticism gives way to helpfulness. Anything less than that is not the real Life.
Christmas and Communion – the seed and the fruit of that seed.
At Christmas we give thanks for the birth of Jesus. At Communion we give thanks for Him. In the prayer of consecration
of the elements, we seek again the benefits of His life and death and resurrection:
We ask God to feed our faith.
As He loves, so let us love.
As He is Life, so let us receive Life, and help others to have Life.
[If you wish, speak to your Minister or priest about the richness of what is offered to us through faith in Jesus Christ. SM]