Serene Thoughts on Christmas! (Dr.Mathew Joys, Ohio)

Wrapped gifts as well Uncle Santa are all set!
The whole world is already warmed up in to the business of celebrating Christmas, towards bringing the rich as well as the poor into the intoxicating moods and vibes of the festival season! In the name of traditions and ‘rituals’ the seasonal markets are blooming with bright stars and fireworks of imported Chinese made inventories. Christmas certainly is not just a Christian celebration; it’s festival of the contemporary world yielding joy, peace and happiness. Santa got to be here, for sure!

History says that Santa Clause was St. Nicolas of the 4th century, born in the village of Patara, Greece, who became the Catholic Bishop of Myra, Turkey. He lost his parents in his early adulthood. St. Nicolas was born of noble and wealthy origins, however gave away all his inherited riches to the frail, miserable, poor and needy. He delighted children with small surprises and good food to eat. Nicholas gave away in secret expecting nothing in return. It is this selfless generosity which seeks only the good of the other that made Nicholas' gifts, the gifts of a saint.

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In order to propagate and keep alive the goodness and goodwill message of the life of St. Nicholas, December 6th used to be commemorated as his memorial day. However as England began to celebrate this accompanied to Christmas, the ritual became complementing each other as Christmas is the grace-filled meaningful gift humankind has ever received! Hence Santa Clause became synergic to Christmas as much as Baby Jesus is! In fact it was the empathy and goodwill to the people in need the real message behind the ritual, however we happen to see that for some rich and affluent it is an excuse to show off their riches, resulting to the trade-marketability of the cause.

In several of the nations Santa is the center of attraction, especially in the Netherlands. Although Christmas has got all its typical flavors; Santa giving out gifts is an essential characteristic feature of the Christmas. November 11th begins the Christmas journey of the Uncle Santa in the Netherlands.

Even in the Vietnams, where Christianity is a sheer minority (< 8%), Christmas is celebrated with rituals such as visiting Church, good music and great food.

At our home-front, Christmas is at large generalized as a common festival of all! All walks of faith harmoniously celebrate Christmas by sharing treats as well with cultural performances. Especially at these times after the historic, horrific floods that engulfed the state as a whole, the oncoming Christmas will be an ideal time to compensate the lapsed Onam for us the Keralites, prayerfully, undoubtedly!

It’s a bit far from truth for Christians and many others that “Jesus is the reason of the Season?” Is it not true that we are a bit ignorant about this very a fact? The embodiment of His love for his creation, in the form and shape of His image and love is the cause of this festivity is the true message Christmas is consummated with. Jesus the Son of God was gifted to humanity by our heavenly father towards saving us from our human helplessness, suffering and worldly misery.

As there were many prophesies about the ‘promised birth of the Baby King’ people of that time expected the ‘King’ to be born obviously in the emperors’ palace. However King David’s Baby was born in the humblest of the circumstances, in a menger at Bethlehem, representing all the lesser ones among us. “And the Word became flesh and delved among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” says John 1:14.

It’s the have-nots who live in the temporary tents. Baby Jesus at birth was among them and was reasoning and representing with the human insufficiencies of His times. However on our contemporary riches, our conscious-less care and compassionless wasteful luxuries in one was cause us to lose the “promised one” who have shown us the eternal love of our Almighty Father!

The news about the birth of the new Baby King was terrifying for most of the contemporary rulers of those times. The deployment of soldiers to eliminate the threat of this ‘Baby King’ inconvenienced St. Joseph and St. Mary, that they had to flee away to secure Baby Jesus from the cowards who where in power, thus Jesus represents the poor refugees.. No one could or would recognize the Baby Savior the promised one for the Mankind as much as His living loud message of love, peace and compassion is unheard and being ignored even today. Unfortunately He is at par absent in today’s celebrations as well.
There is no wonder why the ‘Good news’ was first announced to the nomad shepherds, it is the lesser-ones who deserves the privilege of having emerald joy, for sure!

My thought on this Christmas day is a reading of Kahlil Gibran’s Secret of the Heart. The great poet’s work made alive as I celebrate Christmas, and ponder upon the inevitable sufferings in the offering but His amazing “have-fullness” of a missing birthday boy at this blessed Christmas celebration:

“The people are celebrating in My honor,
Pursuing the tradition woven by the ages
Around My name but as to Myself,
I am a stranger wandering from
East to West upon this earth,
And no one knows of Me.
The foxes have their holes, and
The birds of the skies their nests,
But the Son of Man has no place to rest His head.” (Kahlil Gibran)

Hence let us look for real Jesus among the poor and destitute, frail and needy, homeless and refugees; instead of dancing around the five star mangers and mansions. We can ponder the memoirs of the true manifestation of God became a man to deliver us; only when we can deliver the celebration from the clutches of luxurious and greedy commercialization. Faith, Peace and Joy need to decorate the celebration.
Greetings that you be blessed with His true joy and peace! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND BLESSED NEW YEAR TO ALL.