The year 2020 has been a year as unfamiliar to all of us as any in our lifetime. A deadly pandemic has altered not just the complexion of the year but also changed our lives forever. Never again will the world be the same following what can only be described as a tumultuous and ground-breaking year of our times. And even as we begin to find some sense of normalcy, we all realize that there is a new normal that has taken over, and we may never go back to what was normal for our last Christmas.
And yet when we take a much closer look at the very historical event that stands at the heart of Christmas, we see that it was far removed from all of the bells and whistles that we have come to associate with the festival now. There was hardly any of the festive cheer. Instead, Joseph & Mary were both anxious & fearful in equal parts – anxious because they had no place to bring the little One into the world, and fearful because there was a decree that had been passed to kill young Jewish boys.
Yet, amid the strife & fear, constraints & commotion, we find that the birth of Jesus Christ turned out to be arguably the most significant historical event ever, so much so that it continues to remain the single-most defining moment in history, dividing our times into the two broad segments of Before Christ & After.
Indeed, this may be a Christmas that we might be celebrating without all of the usual paraphernalia. We might be far from our families, far from festivities, and all of the fun we usually associate Christmas with. But what counts is whether we understand and embrace the trusting spirit of Christmas in its entirety.
Now more than ever, the world needs a Messiah – a beacon of hope, an embodiment of compassion and a messenger of peace. Not just the pandemic, we are a world today more divided than ever, ridden with bitterness, angst, hatred, and malice. It is not just the virus that is taking many a life away, we are losing hundreds and thousands to hunger, to war, and the lack of basic human necessities. Not to mention, of course, the great many that we lose forever to evil and godlessness.
And thus, I reiterate. We need a Messiah, a Saviour, today more than we’ve ever needed!
This Christmas, let the focus be the person and the message that Christ embodies – of love & hope, of peace & oneness. Festivities at the time of the birth of Jesus weren’t because of the birth of the baby, it was because of what the baby was foretold to usher in!
A redeemer was born in Bethlehem in trying circumstances, and we need the same redeemer in the world today to heal the wounds of war, disease, hunger, hatred, and malice. He needs to be born in our hearts and lives, so that we become the embodiment of the peace & love he promised, and thus to bring about a real, meaningful Christmas to those around us.