The true impact of Christmas and the purpose of our celebrations

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“Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. Break forth together into singing.” (Isaiah 52:8-9).

Today, I have chosen to title our reflection “Who Christmas help?” It is a question phrased in Pidgin English which seeks to find out the true impact of Christmas and the purpose of our celebrations. This morning, I would like us to pause for a while and reflect on some fundamental questions:

*1. Have I become a better Christian as a result of Christmas?

Today, there are many Christians who literally throw caution to the wind in the name of celebrating Christmas. By so doing and without realizing it, many of us actually celebrate the devil more than we celebrate Jesus Christ during Christmas. Let me ask, where are you planning to go and catch fun today? And why do you feel Christmas is empty without this “fun”?

Dear friends, if our celebration of Christmas is to be relevant, we must incarnate Jesus Christ in our world. If Jesus is not born again within me, then my celebration of His birth remains forever a mystery. How can I tell anyone I am celebrating someone’s birthday when they cannot see the person at least in me?

*2. How has my celebration affected Unbelievers?

Giving the popularity of Christmas, it is easy to assume that everybody is celebrating Jesus’ birthday but the truth is that there are still very many enemies to the faith as well as those who are not convinced, not converted and not willing to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is God. We heard St. John saying in today’s Gospel passage: “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.” (John 1:10)

In truth, if you really want to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, give Him the gift of winning at least one or two souls to the faith this period. Remember, Jesus never told us to celebrate his birthday, but He told us to go into the world and preach. (Cf. Mark 16:15). One of the most creative ways of preaching this period is showing love especially to our enemies and particularly to unbelievers. Don’t just give them something to eat, drink or wear, say one or two things about Jesus to them.

*3. Has Christmas made me a happier person?

When the Angel appeared to the shepherds, he said: “Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11). In today’s first reading, we hear Isaiah declare: “Watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people.” (Isaiah 52:8-9). In other words, Christmas is a time for joy for the whole world.

Now, we must be honest with ourselves. How do you feel deep within you? Can you really say you are happy and joyful? If not, what could be responsible for your unhappiness? Could it be the present covid-19 crisis? Could it be your job? Are you scared for the future? Worried about your children or the nature of things in our nation?

Whatever the situation is, if you are not happy, it is because you do not believe that God will help you as He helped the world by sending us His Son Jesus Christ. Christmas is a time to renew our faith and trust in God; a time to remind ourselves of the depth of God’s love; a love so great that He had to take our flesh to be with us. Ponder on this love and realize that your troubles are nothing before God. Just dance, sing and praise God – be happy!

In conclusion, if we really understand what Christmas is, we would see that Christmas is capable of making our world much better than it is today.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may your birth change my life completely. Amen.

Fr. Abu

Religion