Malankara World

General Articles and Essays

Christmas Then and Today

by Jacob P Varghese, Sharjah

A scan through the Holy Scriptures and study of the Gospel events of the Birth of Christ reveals that there were many characters around the first Christmas 2000 years ago: Archangel Gabriel, and herd of angels; the shepherds and the wise men, King Herod, the chief priests, Scribes and inn-keepers; Patriarch Joseph and Virgin Mary.

Angel Gabriel, brought the news of the Incarnation of the Messiah, herd of angels, heralded His birth to the shepherds and promise of peace and goodwill to mankind. Joseph and Blessed Mary made Christmas possible? (Matt. 1: 18-24; Lk. 1: 26-38). The obedient response of Virgin Mary and Joseph to God and His will at great personal cost made the coming of the Savior of the World, at the first Christmas possible. The blessed parents became great channels of God's greatest blessing to the whole world. The Shepherds (Lk. 2: 8-18) who were the first to receive the news of His birth went, saw the Savior and worshipped Him. They spread the word that Christ was the Lord and Savior of all the people (Lk. 2: 17-18). The wise men from the east (Matt. 2: 1-12) are those that met, received and worshipped the Savior, and made Him known to others. They gave their gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh, and returned to their country and spread the good and joyful news about Jesus Christ.

The innkeeper (Lk. 2: 7), King Herod (Matt. 2: 1-8) and the religious leaders (Matt. 2: 4-6) missed Christ. The innkeepers refused Christ when they said "no room" to Joseph and Mary. They ignorantly, shunned the King of Kings and Lord of Lords out of their hearts and houses. The chief priests, teachers of the law, the scribes knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2: 4-6; Mic. 5: 1-2); they were there when the Messiah was born on the Christmas day, yet missed Christmas. King Herod the great, who felt insecure and troubled at the news of the coming of the King? He pretended, he wanted to worship Jesus, he posed to see the creator of heavens and earth and all humanity, but he was fearful of the one who was called the King of the Jews. All had their own reasons to miss Christ on the first Christmas.

Today also, many of us have 'No room' for Christ amidst us, our business obligations, preoccupations, busy schedule of Christmas celebrations, parties, shopping and events. Are not our Churches like the crowded Bethlehem, with no room for Christ? Are we not having Christ less Christmas celebrations, with wine and merrymaking? Have not our Christmas Carols, become more of a routine rigmarole and money making mission. The 21st century Herods, do not want Jesus interfering with their power, plans, prestige or positions and do not want or do not let, Jesus have His rightful place in our hearts and His lawful throne in the Churches.

Where do we picture ourselves? With whom can we associate ourselves? In which category do we fall? Can we opt to be His witnesses like the Shepherds, choosing to give the Christmas message, the 'Good News of great joy to the whole humanity (Lk. 2: 10-11), making the birth of Jesus the Savior in their hearts and lives possible. Can we not be wise men and women still following the star, to seek the Prince of Peace and be with the Savior of the World.

Christmas is about love that is, giving and giving sacrificially. It is the blessed season that engages the world in a covenant of love. Can we associate ourselves with Mary and Joseph, say 'yes' to His will and commission. Can we not open the doors of our inns and admit Christ into our hearts. Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with the quietness of mind; teach us to be always patient, obedient and kind. Help us to cherish peace and goodwill; and be plenteous in mercy. May this Christmas be a Christ-centered, Christ filled and Christ focused, Christmas for all of us!!!

See Also:

One Man's Advent Reflection
In Holy Tradition, with many local variations, the celebration of the Christmas season lasts for 12 days, from the Feast of the Holy Nativity until the celebration of the visit of the Three Kings or Wise Men from the East and the celebration of Christ's baptism in the Jordon.

Reality of Christmas Today
As the clock strikes midnight, everyone gathers around the Christmas tree to celebrate the holiday with joyful greetings and gifts. Time passes away swiftly with all the excitement. And once everyone is in bed, a few hours later, the alarm sounds. Itís time to go to church for Christmas service in the early morning. Why go? What happens anyway?

The Jesus of Christmas: Who was the baby in the manger?
So who was the baby in the manger? The answer to that question is the most important one in all history. For if Jesus was not who he claimed to be, his promise of eternal peace is empty. But if Jesus was who he claimed to be, then our lives can have no meaning without him.

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