I wish all my viewers a merry Christmas.
Every Christmas brings us the good news of hope and consolation that God loves the world. As we read in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” But I believe, every Christmas is also a reminder to us about a sacrifice. The great sacrifice that God the Father had to make in sending down his only Son into the world. He was taking a great risk. Jesus himself will remind us about it when he speaks of the parable about the vineyard and the tenants (Lk. 20:9-19). Or we could recall to our minds Abraham taking his son for the burnt offering on Mount Moriah(Gen.22:1-19). Nevertheless at the end Isaac was substituted with the ram. But in the case of Jesus there is no substitute. Therefore Christmas is reminding each of us of the unfathomable love of God sending forth his only begotten Son for the salvation of humanity.
Now what are some of the messages we could draw from this great feast of Christmas.
- First of all Mathew, the evangelist, while narrating the birth of Jesus, speaks of a star that rose announcing the birth of Jesus. Now star is the symbol of light. Later the same star is seen shining above the place where Jesus lay. Again, Luke speaks of a great light that was shown around the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus (Lk.2:9). Though it was night there was light when Jesus was born. In contrast, when Jesus died on the cross, though it was midafternoon, both Mark and Luke recount that darkness fell upon the whole land (Mt.27:45, Mk.15:33); or when John speaks of Judas going out from the presence of Jesus at last supper, the evangelist adds a poignant phrase “…and it was dark” (Jn.13:30). Yes dear friends, wherever Jesus is present there is light, and where ever He is absent there is darkness. I think it is the same with our lives too. Whenever Jesus is present in our life, there is light; instead if He is absent our lives will be darkened. Therefore what bring darkness to our lives are not difficulties, problems of life, failures, setbacks or sicknesses, but the absence of Jesus. Let us have Jesus in our lives, let us have light!.
- Now how are we to make sure that Jesus is present in our lives constantly? While speaking about the incarnation of Jesus, John states “The word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn.1:14). Dear friends, this should happen in our lives too. The Word has to take on flesh in and through us. The Week magazine of 20th December 2009 carried the cover story of Bro. Christudas, the “man of the year” for 2009. For twenty years he was nursing leprosy patients in Sundarpur, Bihar. He seems to have taken care of about 50,000 leprosy patients when the award was given to him. The Week called him the saint of Sundarpur. He still works for the poor leper patients dedicatedly. A man in whom the Word has become flesh. There are people in this Christmas season who leave a hamper in our seminary here, with all the provisions needed for a poor family to celebrate Christmas. Dear friends, this Christmas puts before us a challenge: can the Word take flesh in us too?
- Thirdly, Mathew 2:1-12 tells us of the story of how the magi from the East came to visit Child Jesus. We are told that they travelled long; searched for the king of Israel; and when they saw him they worshipped him offering gold, frankincense and myrrh. At the end of it Mathew makes a significant remark: “They returned to their country by another route” (Mt.2:12). Yes dear friends, anyone who encounters Jesus cannot go back the same way. Mary of Magdela met Jesus, she could not go back to the same way; Zachaeus met Jesus, he took a different route in his life thereafter; the sinful woman met Jesus, she changed her ways. You and I have come to meet Jesus today in the manger. If we really encounter him, we cannot return to our same old ways.
May the encounter with Jesus today make each of us better persons by allowing the word to take flesh in our lives so that we will have the light of Christ shining always in our lives. Amen.