Sunday, July 14, 2024

Christmas: A Celebration of Sharing


By Fr. Joseph M Thohrii

EKHON | UKHRUL: Christmas is a yearly festival celebrated to mark the birthday of Jesus Christ. Edna Ferber, an American novelist once said “Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling”, a feeling that encourages oneness and harmony. Much more it is a season to wish one another peace, love and joy. In the Church liturgy, four Sundays of forty days precedes in preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ, so that when the Prince of Peace is born, the faithful will be worthy to receive Him in their hearts and in their home. Christmas in its true spirit also calls for renewal of oneself and reflect on the humility of Christ being born in a manger on a cold winter night in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

Christmas this year 2023 is round the corner and we are here once again to witness the birth of the new born king. Many centuries before Christ was born, Prophet Isaiah foretold in his book, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah 2:6) Jesus Christ was the prophecy that came true many centuries later. He was and is the prince of peace. His birth brought fragrance of peace around. He healed the broken relationships and mended the broken hearts. Where there was no love, he sowed the seeds of love and where there was hate, he brought forgiveness and wherever there was grief and pain, he was the soothing balm. The celebration of Christmas must bring into our society today the fragrance and aura to live in peace, love and joy.

Christmas is the time we come home from different corners to celebrate with our near and dear ones. It is a family time to enjoy the best moments together and create resounding memories. Celebrating Christmas together with our family in the spirit of giving, receiving and sharing may be all we need to bridge the gap with our families bringing a sense of belonging and warm connection. This season allows us to spend more cherished and memorable time together as a family reconnecting and rejuvenating the family bond.

Christmas is also a time to share. It means to share with the less privileged and those who have no one and those who have nothing. Always remember ‘No one become poor by sharing’, sharing a little from our resources and from our piggy banks. We should celebrate Christmas by extending a helping hand to all those who suffer due to poverty. Jesus had great love and concern for the poor as we see from the Bible. The sick and the marginalized were close to the heart of Jesus. The celebration of the birthday of baby Jesus should inspire and motivate all to work for the poor, marginalise and less privileged in society. As long as we neglect and leave out these sections of our community, we are impoverished because each of us is equally important and everyone deserves the best in their life.

The constant words of my Dad, ‘It is in giving that we receive’ resonate in me during this season of sharing. It is joyful to receive but it is difficult to smile in giving to the other fellow person. The season is also an occasion where we can lend our helping hand to the needy and the destitute. It is sad that during this festive season we are so occupied with celebratory mood, shopping, decorations and entertainment that we have less time if not, no time for the poor and those who have no one to care for in the orphanage home, old age home and the refugee camps. Let us feel the pulse of those who don’t have the same privilege as us. Let us be willing to share the blessings of Christmas by giving rather than receiving. Most Rev. Dr. Linus Neli D.D, Archbishop of Imphal has called to abstain from extravagance expenses on this Christmas in solidarity with the pain and sufferings of our brothers and sisters, let us also reflect on the pain, hurts, agony and emptiness and recommits ourselves in serving each other and for the well-being of all. It can be a treasure of blessing a reward that comes back in return to you and your family.

The three magi saw the star, followed and received the King of Kings wrapped in swaddling clothes laid by the side of Mary his mother. These three Wise Men opened their treasure chests, knelt and gave the best gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Perhaps no one told them what gifts to bring on their visit to Bethlehem. Each wise men coming from three different directions converged at the designated place in adoration and paid homage. As we celebrate the joy of Christmas, “my gift” and “your gift” will be incomplete unless our gifts, prayers, hopes, joy and love are shared through Christ together with our neighbours, friends and loved ones. The gift of Peace. The gift of Love. The gift of Joy. May all these be yours at Christmas.

(The Author, is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Imphal, presently serving as the Vice Principal of St. Joseph College, Ukhrul, Manipur. He can be reached on Views expressed are personal)


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