March 20, 2019

tami sin youtube google twitter facebook

    Be ready for the challenges of Christmas Featured

    December 23, 2018

     

    Advent or the period before Christmas symbolises a period of waiting: Waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ the Son of God who became man by taking on Himself the form of an ordinary human being, born to a virgin mother, specially chosen by God so that He may live like one of us and empathise with our needs and experience the challenges that any human being at the time faced.

    At Christmas we don’t just celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. We also celebrate His victory over death on the Cross and Resurrection which gave hope to the hopeless, light to those who live in darkness facing an uncertain future and peace for warring nations.

    While there is no record of the specific date of His birth being on December 25, the Bible does record angels announcing the birth of the God child and filling the skies with their heavenly hymns of praise. Jesus’s three years of Ministry left its mark on more lives and nations than any known religion to this day.

    For His inspiration he drew solely from the word of His Father, God, citing the Scriptures, and defended His case to non believers and critiques (Pharisees).

    What does it require for Christmas to be relevant in the context we live in?

    Let me quote my own pastor from the Kollupitiya Methodist Church, Rev. Ebenezer Joseph in his Christmas newsletter. He says, ‘For Christmas to be relevant in the context we live in, we need to reform our structures. We need to re-orient our spirituality. We need to become honest and transparent, just and peaceful. We need to overcome our enmity and hatred.’

     

    In short, he says, we need a total transformation. As he states, “In order to regain our own lost moral and ethical foundation we need to be rooted in a spirituality that will enable us to live with and for the newborn baby in a manger who had forsaken all His power and authority so that He may be a light to those in darkness”. It is only then, he stresses, that Christmas can be a ray of hope to those who live amid hopelessness and our collective lifestyle will be a challenging model to those who created the unstable environment due to their own selfish ambitions. Living in a world where God is no longer the centre of our universe, has hidden the true meaning of Christmas which is “God is with us”. As Christians we have a special responsibility to send that message across by our own behaviour, our attitudes, our actions so that we can be role models to others, especially, young people who are the most vulnerable segment of our society, swamped by drugs, alcohol abuse, gender violence, inequality and sexual perversions.

    The blame often lies with us adults who do not give them the love, patient understanding, empathy and support of a strong family. Lessons in empathy and love can easily be found when we study the life of Christ.

    His birth itself proved He was a person with no pretensions and if we study His life it is a remarkable example of respect and love for His earthly parents and His brothers, some of whom became His own disciples.

    That he chose His disciples from among the lowliest and most despised of trades, fishermen and tax collector, most of them illiterate was not because He lacked options.

    It was a deliberate choice planned like all other events in His life by His Heavenly Father and in spite of their own doubts and misunderstandings as to who Jesus was, they became the founders of the first Christian church which grew in a remarkably short time and spread to different parts of Judea notwithstanding the severe sacrifices those early Christian followers had to make, even to the extend of being stoned to death.

    A bridge from heaven

    “My friends on this Christmas … let us see in the Babe of Bethlehem, the One who came to us in order to bear with us everything that weighs heavily upon us….God Himself has built a bridge from Himself to us. A dawn from on high has visited us”.At Christmas we embrace the good news that God in Christ has come to us wherever we are and has bridged the gap between us.He invades our prison of darkness and with His light lifts the load of sorrow, guilt or loneliness that weigh us down.This same message is reinforced by the words of a prominent German pastor to his fellow prison inmates on Christmas Eve 1944, in Dachau.

    “My friends on this Christmas … let us see in the Babe of Bethlehem, the One who came to us in order to bear with us everything that weighs heavily upon us….God Himself has built a bridge from Himself to us. A dawn from on high has visited us”.To Lankans living in the current times, and all countries in socio political crisis, the relevance of this message should not be underestimated at this year’s celebration of Christmas. For no matter where today finds us, Jesus’s birth has penetrated our dark world with His joy and light replacing despair with hope, mistrust with trust, and hate with love.

    Last modified on Sunday, 23 December 2018 09:04

    dgi log front

    recu

    electionR2