Once again, we feel thrilled and exuberant to prepare ourselves for the joyful feast of the nativity of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. However, the experiences and challenges, the pain and loss, the wounds and hurts, the struggles and fears which Covid 19 has given to the whole of humanity may not be able to easily be erased from our memories. Nevertheless, we are people of hope and filled with this hope we take each step for our better living and a better society.
The season of Christmas fills us with joy because the reason for this season is the birth of Child Jesus. As we are constantly reminded during this time that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish have eternal life. For God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.’ (Jn. 3: 16-17) This is the core message of Christmas which revels to us the depth of God’s love for the whole of humanity. Therefore, the joy of Christmas permeates the whole of creation and exceeds the boundaries of mere religiosity. It is in this the spirit of universality that we share the joy of Christ’s birth to all those who are around us.
As the joyful celebration of the Nativity of Child Jesus is coming closer day by day, I ponder what CHRISTMAS can mean to me in my personal growth. I would like to share few thoughts that I feel inspired to share. I would like to use the Acronym ‘CHRISTMAS’.
C – COMMUNICATION: By sending His only beloved Son into this world, God communicated the depth of his love and mercy to humankind. He communicated His love and mercy to save the whole world from the evil one. I believe, God is calling each one of us to communicate His love and mercy to others through our gentle and loving ways of communication.
H – HUMILITY: The son of God was born in a manger. The stable revealed the choice of God to allow His Son to born into this world. Jesus, all through His life, lived a life of humility. The Birth of Jesus is reminding us to be humble in our lives.
R – RELATIONSHIP: The relationship between God and his people was destroyed by sin and selfishness. The disobedience of men to obey God’s command plunged the world into darkness. But, God didn’t want His creation to be left in ruins. He took the initiative to rebuild his relationship with his children by sending His Son on earth. The Christmas is inviting us to build loving relationships with God and one another.
I – INCULTURATION: The joy of Christmas permeates every corner of the world. It is seen that all people and cultures celebrate God’s love for his people through the birth of Jesus. The spirit of Christmas respects every culture and brings joy and unity among the members of the community.
S – SYNODALITY: Synodality means journeying together. This is the vision of our Holy Father as intense preparations are going on for the upcoming Synod which will be held in Rome in October 2023. This theme has made us aware of the need and importance of one another in journeying together to actualize the values of God’s kingdom amongst us. Through the birth of Jesus, God came down to his people to journey with them. Let his journey continue in and through us!
T – TRUTH: The truth about Christmas is the birth of Jesus, our Saviour. Unfortunately and sadly, the commercialised world through media and publicity is distorting the truth about Christmas by focussing on the Santa Claus, Christmas Tress and other external elements related to Christmas. Our children, youth and even young families are getting highly influenced with ever growing craze of external celebrations rather than focussing on the real meaning of Christmas. We pray that the real Truth of Christmas be given due importance and reconviction in our families.
M – MISSION: Our synodal journey exhorts us to revive our efforts and enthusiasm towards the mission as followers of Christ. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we have become partakers in the mission of Christ, in His Priestly, Prophetic and Kingly exercise of the service. The spirit of Christmas reignites our joy of rededicating ourselves and our families to the mission of Christ for which He was born.
A – ABUNDANCE: The message of Christmas is joy, peace and love shared in abundance. The arms of God embraced the whole of creation by sending His only Son amidst us. Jesus lived his life sharing God’s mercy, love, compassion and healing in abundance to those around Him. During the Christmas season, we observe how this joy and love is shared with others in abundance, especially through our deeds of charity to the poor, lonely and the unloved.
S – SERVICE: One of the important characteristics which define a true follower of Christ is the love for service. Jesus told his disciples after washing their feet at the Last Supper that the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others. And, He admonished them to do the same. During the season of Christmas, lots of people try to reach out to others and help those who are poor or in need. This love for service should not just be limited during the Christmas time, but the spirit of Christmas should be present every day in our lives and families, in and through, our loving service.
Christian Family Movement consists of families who try to live their family life centred on the Word of God. And, the Word of God directs each family to reflect and renew their lives according to God’s will. As member of the Christian Family Movement we are called to bring this ‘Word of God’ alive in our way of living, as we rejoice during this season of Christmas for having been blessed by the birth of our Saviour. Let this Christmas be a unique and special occasion for our families to be in the synodal journey with others in building Communion by Participating in the Mission of Jesus Christ!
I wish you all a Blessed and Joyful Christmas!
And a Grace-filled New Year 2023
Fr. Albano Fernandes
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