Christmas is a day which transgressed all the belief people had of God. Until that day the people thought that the God is the one who instructed and punished from heavens. But in the incarnation the mighty God takes the human form in a simple manger as infant Jesus. He was able to transform the image of God people had in their minds and congregate the people. If we understand the real meaning of the Christmas, then every Eucharistic celebration is a Christmas celebration. Jesus transformed as a man to find a place in the hearts of men, and he transforms as a piece of bread to stay with men until the end of the world during every Eucharistic celebration.
The word ‘Christmas’ originates from the word Christes Mese. This word is better associated with sacrifice and means the sacrifice of Christ, which goes to show that the day Christ was born was a day of sacrifice. Every Eucharistic celebration is commemoration of this sacrifice. And for this reason the virtue of humility is bestowed on the faithful on the Christmas day.
On that cold winter night the infant had only Mary his mother to provide the warmth. He could have been born in the comfort of a palace with people to serve him. But he chose to be born in the humble manger surrounded by cows and sheep. He accepted the smell of the manger and the animals instead of the frankincense, comfort of the stable rather than a soft mattress. We cannot enumerate the stories of humility Christmas has to share. It is natural for poor to experience poverty but even though Jesus owned the world he became the epitome of humility and sacrifices everything that was his.
On this day of sacrifice Jesus has plethora of good news to share with us which serves as a constant reminder for us. ‘You’ are there in everything. If only we can find us in our need to search of truth, in the wise men guided by the stars chose a different path to avoid Herod, in the cries of mothers and their children, in the shepherd and the stable then it will be a priceless gift.
The world was not ready to accept Mary and Joseph who were in search of truth. If we imagine this truth to be our mind then can we admit to the number of days we have refused Jesus a place in our heart. How many Christmas celebration we have had with cribs, stars and decoration without having Jesus in our heart, have been a comfort to the people who have been in search of truth.
It was the divine intervention that ensured the safety of the wise men and saved them from Herod and that is the divinity of Christmas. Herod is the epitome of evil. Let us not overlook the presence of guardian angels who turn our steps from evil ways towards God. Let this Christmas be an opportunity for us to steer away from our evil ways and the Sanctitude of Christmas stay with us.
Let us not forget the communal life we witnessed on that first Christmas where the cows, sheep, the shepherds, wise men with the symphony of Gloria and prayers rising as a chorus. The wisest of the wise and the poorest of the poor coming together in one platform, the stable. Let our lives transform like this stable this Christmas.
Fr. Antony Parakkadavil