First of all I wish you all a solemn, meaningful and joyful celebration of Christmas. As of now, Christmas cards would have been written and posted, Christmas presents being bought and wrapped and ready to be given, Christmas shopping being sorted, ordered and ready to be shared at the Christmas table.
We would have sung with all our hearts the Christmas carols, as we had our Christmas break-ups. We would have set up our Christmas lights flickering at nights. All of these and more are indeed signs that Christmas is in the air. But we need to remember that Christmas is more than just something that we do, or something we give. In fact, Christmas is about someone, and this someone has a name, Jesus-‘the Christ’, ‘the Messiah’, the Emmanuel, the God-with-us, the God who humbly came down from his throne in heaven, and chose to be born in a lowly manger-from a poor family- a saviour who has been born to us (Lk 2:11), the ‘true light that enlightens all people (Jn 1:9).
God is so in love with us that he wanted to become like one of us, not to put himself lower but to lift us up higher. In love, he willed to become part of our human story, in order for us to become part of the Divine story. In love he was born for us because he wanted us to be part not just of the ‘Good story’ but of the ‘God-story.’
This is indeed worth celebrating and worth rejoicing. Let us endeavour this time therefore, to encounter in a more real and personal way the Lord who has come to live with us and to live among us. We can meet him intimately in every celebration of the Eucharist. We can meet him personally in the guise of our brothers and sisters especially to those who are poor, weak, vulnerable and marginalized. Let us remember in our prayers especially those our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world whose Christmas is not as joyous as it should be, by reason of war and conflicts, by persecution and violence, by false ideologies and acts of terrorism. Let us pray for the victims of the Christmas market truck attack in Berlin and for the family of the Russian Ambassador shot dead in Turkey. Let us pray for the people displaced and seeking asylum that world leaders and countries may offer them a space in the inn of their hearts. Let us pray for our families too that Christ be welcomed into our homes and be given a space in the Inn of our hearts so as to honour him who is the real reason for this season. Let us altogether pray and work for peace, starting in our own lives by forgiving those who have wronged us, by being generous with our time, talent and resources to those who have less, and by bringing Christ and his message of peace, joy and love to others.
Let all these be our Christmas present for the new-born child in the manger. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a grace-filled new year!