By the end of December, 2019 will just be a year in history. It looks we began the year 2019 just the other day…..and like twinkling of an eye, it is going to be soon over ushering in the year 2020. That’s how it is: days and months and years in our lives; they come and they go allowing us to grow gracefully from our childhood to youth, then to adulthood and old age if we are privileged to live all these stages of life.
The month of December is quite significant more for businessmen than for anyone else; the Feast of Christmas which falls on 25th is seen more as a commercial enterprise to generate maximum business and profit than a spiritual celebration and experience. Preparations have already begun in all earnestness and seriousness to devise and invent goods and items to attract people of all walks of life all over the world in order to attract people to these fancy products in the name of Christmas. It is true that today, more than ever before Christmas means business; this feast means fun and frolic and its celebration consists in merry-making, enjoyment, dinners and banquets, Christmas midnight bash and day long crash and crush. All these fun-loving and merry-making celebrations which I am sure are also a part of the Christmas celebration, their extreme form and display are certainly not in line with the spirit of the historical event of the Birth of Our Saviour Jesus Christ who deigned to be born in a manger in utter poverty, misery and isolation from the world of that time which loved and lived in luxury, glamour and glitter. The world of today is not far from these pleasure and glamour oriented outlooks which have been dominating our lives with or without choice and as a result, noble and eternal values like marriage, family, love of neighbour, charity, forgiveness and brotherhood are being replaced with live-in-relationship, single mother, single father family, hatred, revenge, rivalry and destruction in the name of religion. These changed life situations are bad, sad and unfortunate but true.
We need to reflect seriously on he mystery of Christmas as to why in the fullness of time God sent His only Son to be our Saviour…. (Jn 3:16; Gal 4.4). We need to understand the spirit behind the new commandment that He gave us: love one another as I have loved you (Jn 13:34); we need to meditate on the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:1-11); we need to examine ourselves how close or how far we are in translating His emphatic message at the end of our lives: Whatsoever you did to the least of my brethren you did it to me….for I was hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, imprisoned and you gave me food, drink, made me welcome, clothed me, visited me and came to see me….(Mt. 25:35-46). A serious reflection and meditation on these biblical passages will lead us to know where exactly the Christmas gifts of joy, peace and love are to be found and how to live them in our everyday life thereby making our Christmas truly a rich and grace-filled spiritual experience.
As I wish each and every one of you a very happy Christmas, I invoke God’s abundant blessings upon you all so that the spirit of Christmas which is love, peace and joy may remain with you throughout the new year 2020. Happy Christmas and happiness always and may God bless you all and always too is my wish and prayer for you.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
XGerald Isaac Lobo
Bishop of Udupi