|JANUARY 2004||DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE||
Birth of Jesus is an expression of God's love. It is the countenance of God's devotion to His creation. Hate regenerates hate until love stimulates to love. Christmas gives us the challenge to love, challenge to share and challenge to live.
Birth of a new child at home provides happiness to the whole household; the Birth of Jesus Christ imparts joy to the entire world. That is the reason the whole world is celebrating the birth of Lord Jesus Christ. The world received the most precious gift from God that is His only begotten son Jesus. What makes Christmas to be a meaningful celebration? Mar Athanatius, the Church father, had told that God became human so that man becomes divine.
Birth of Jesus is an expression of love. God loved the world so much as to offer His beloved and only begotten son to us. This is an era with an upsurge of hate by reason of region, religion, cast and creed. Hate regenerates hate until love stimulates to love. This is the essential message heaven has conveyed to the world, but the world swing to absorb it.
When the God created this world, everything was perfect. After His creation, God said himself that it is found good. He was quite happy. He found only one shortfall. God filled it up with creation of family. Then He was quite pleased. We all comprehend that when we look around we see disorder everywhere in God's creation. God created human being in His own image. God is so concerned about His creation. That is why He sent His begotten son to this world. It is the countenance of God's devotion to His creation.
There is a story of a twentieth century European missionary who took up the mission to serve in India. He went back to his town, got married and returned to India. He was expecting his wife to join him soon. Unfortunately the Second World War broke out and his wife could not join him as scheduled. He was sending gifts to his wife quite often along with his letters. In all the letters he expressed his hope that she will join him soon. While receiving the gifts from her husband, his wife said; "I hope my husband himself is wrapped in these gifts." That is what exactly happened with the birth of Jesus Christ. God Himself is wrapped and presented to this world as the most precious gift from heaven and from God. This is the love of Christmas.
We all know that we are living in a world where love is naked. While we look around, we see people who are expecting an expression of love from others. We can perceive the failure of sharing the love of God, even though we claim that we experience the love of Jesus Christ.
The challenge of Christmas is the challenge to love, as the love is naked. Secondly God became poor and born in a manger so as we become rich. God left all the possibilities of heaven, and came to this world to become a servant of the poorest of the poor to make him rich. How it is possible? It is easy to say the world that He loved you. But in reality, it became an illustration of the love of God. The Christmas becomes meaningful only when we share, whatever we have, to the needy one. If we are not ready for the same the celebrations turn out to be hollow.
There is a story of two children, who lived in Germany in seventeenth centuary in the Muller family. Their father was working in a factory and struggled to meet both the ends. During a Christmas season he had fallen sick and life became so hard and family had to virtually starve. The children were of age nine and ten years. On the Christmas eve, after coming from the school they asked their dad for the Christmas cake. He found it very hard to share the predicament with the children. Eventually he conveyed the boys that he does not have money to buy the cake this year and proposed the children to pray to God. To their candor, the children wrote a letter about their needs and addressed it to 'The God in Heaven' and posted. While collecting the letters from the post box, the postman found this letter with an undeliverable address. He opened the letter and decided to submit the letter to the Chairman of that Municipality. The Chairman was celebrating his Christmas Eve with friends, subordinates and dignitaries of the city. When he returned home he read the letter of the children and discarded same with out giving any heed to it.
However the Chairman could not sleep during that night. The letter of the children was haunting him and made him disturbed. It was written in the letter that their mother is sick, father stopped working, and they do not have money to celebrate birthday of Jesus. He could not evade his consciousness. He found out the address and reached the children's house with a Christmas cake and gifts. The little children who were eagerly waiting for the reply from God, to their surprise, had seen the Chairman of the Municipality at their door step with cakes, gifts and money for their Christmas needs. This is connotation of Christmas.
If we are not willing to share our God given resources and gifts with the less fortunate ones around us we do not have the right to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Sometime our next-door neighbor may be the needy one. We should encourage children to visit the homeless, poor and the needy ones. Our new generation children are less exposed to poverty. Marthoma Church had taken up a project to adopt an island on the east coast of Mexico. There are forty-five poor families staying in that island. During the last summer, our youths and children visited that island. After visiting the island and seeing the state of the people there, they told 'now we know what is poverty.'
God came to his world, so that we may live. We are living without a life. We are living for our self. We cannot celebrate birth of Jesus Christ unless Jesus is born in our heart. The birth of Lord gives us the challenge to love, challenge to share and challenge to live. How we respond to these challenges? The success defines our response to respond to it positively. We must take a decision to love share and live. This is my prayer. Let this Christmas season become meaningful and let us enter into a meaningful new year. Let Lord bless you, strengthen you and help you to be helpful to others.
|[Message given at United Ecumenical Christmas Celebrations at Philadelphia]|
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LIGHT OF LIFE
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