Christmas: A time to see life in its newness
Pope Francis, the Supreme Pontiff, in his Christmas message of 2014 to the people of the world, invoked that the power of Jesus Christ, which 'brings freedom and service, be felt in the hearts of many who are afflicted by war, persecution and slavery'; and that his (Christ) 'redeeming strength transforms arms into ploughshares, destruction into creativity, hatred into love and tenderness'.
This universal call is still valid today on Christmas Day, December 25, 2015, as the global situation on the matters he mentions has not changed much. It is indeed a time to see life in all its newness – not merely be witnesses of what is going on around us, but also to participate in positive actions towards restoring the ultimate purpose of life which the Almighty has given to us all.
In order to see life in its newness, let us have a look at the historical perspective of Christmas – (the birth of Christ), how it (life) has been designed as the beginning of life, its newness, and what significance it bears for each one of us.
Despite varied opinions of the exact date, Christians all over the world in general believe the birth of Jesus Christ to be today, December 25. Whatever may the date be, it is believed by Christians that Jesus is the son of God, born of Virgin Mary by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, to be the saviour of the world. It is also believed that Jesus is the incarnation of God himself as a human person, so that he can be one among them to redeem them from all evils of the world.
The birth of a person is the beginning of a new life. Any new child (life) born in a family changes the overall perspective of that family – parents as well as others in the family are overjoyed, they love the child dearly, do everything to help it grow up, take care of all its needs, and protect it from all dangers. The presence of a new child in a family opens the minds-hearts-souls of the family to be more generous, loving, caring, and sharing to all others around them. It is the beginning of seeing life in its newness.
What is this newness of life? It is to look at life from a whole new perspective. Prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament says: "I give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ez. 36: 26). St. Paul looks at Christ as a new creation: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Cor. 5:17). A child being born in a family is a new creation; likewise, it is the same with all who believes is Christ – he/she becomes a new creation, his/her old life passes away.
All persons with a newness of life cannot hold on to old ways of things. They must look at everything with new eyes. They cannot remain mere spectators and indifferent to afflictions of war, persecution, slavery, deprivations, atrocities, human trafficking, conflicts, killings, bombings, displacements, destruction - all such evils. Therefore, it is an urgent cry that all people of good will make their lives a new creation, taking part in remedying these evils of the world by making it new again as it had been intentioned by the Almighty Creator.
Every Christmas is such an invitation to look at one's life in all its newness. In the Gospel of St. John, it is said about Jesus' coming (being born) into this world so "that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10: 10). Let the Christmas of this year (2015) enlighten us all to see life from a new perspective by showing our love for the Almighty and all His creation – human persons and the nature with all its abundance of resources by not remaining indifferent, but by taking part in positive actions that help restore human life and mother earth with all their grandeur and dignity.
Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
The writer is Holy Cross Brother.