Christmas waves a magic wand over the earth, and lo and behold everything looks so bright and wonderful. For many, this is a time of feasting, giving and receiving. December is the coldest month in India and the best month to be in Goa. While the rest of India is getting ready to bring in the New Year, We here in Goa are gearing up for the December 25 celebrations.
History tells us that a long time ago the world was perfect. There was peace and harmony until darkness set in because of our own defiance, rebellion and greed which messed up everything. We now live in a dark and broken world. Turn on any news channel. All that we hear and see is crime, murder, suicide, shootings, drug abuse, human trafficking, lynching, terrorism, war, scandal, frauds etc. It’s everywhere! There is one thing we can all agree and that is the world is in a mess. Christmas is all about light. Celebrating the birth of Jesus is all about light. Jesus is the reason of this very special season.
BIRTH OF JESUS: You never know how a baby will turn out, do you? The one born 2018 years ago turned out to be the Saviour of the world. Not everyone knows, understands or believes this – that the son of God became the son of man. It is with his birth that history of the world is divided as B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (After death). Christmas is the beginning of a true classic story that contains all the right ingredients: Love, joy, peace, celebration, salvation, reconciliation and goodwill. Generally, when we celebrate somebody’s birthday, they are honored with plenty of gifts. We need to ask ourselves what is the gift that we have to offer as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The festival of Christmas undoubtedly holds a great significance across the world. The story of Jesus is all about his birth in a manger, death on a cross and resurrection. All this is true and it actually happened in history.
MEANING OF CHRISTMAS: Christmas is a time for us to contemplate on things that are eternal as against things material that will perish. It is the time for us to pass on the light of love to those who need it most. Charles Dickens in his novel the Christmas Carol said “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” At Christmas time there is a joy that fills our hearts. There is a feeling of peace that sets this time of year apart. The doctrine of Christmas is that God became historical. The manger, the resurrection, the story of Jesus is not just a story. It's true. It actually happened in history. The son of God becomes the son of man. The fact of Christmas is that Jesus Christ really lived, and he really died. It happened in history. He did these things. He said these things.Christ came to earth and lived a life we should have lived and died a death we should have died. Christmas is a time for healing a broken world and restoring Gods creation to its original formation.
Born to poor parents, in an environment of extreme poverty, Jesus is telling us where He dwells. Not in places of majesty and glamor but among the poor and the down-trodden, the sick and dying, the hungry, the oppressed. Having come into the world he is very much in our midst but unfortunately we refuse to recognise him and therefore fail to welcome him. This Christmas season let us take a moment to look around to recognise Him in those who do not have joy and peace in their lives. Let us do something small within our means to alleviate the pain and misery in the lives of the less fortunate.
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS: As it is with any festival, Christmas too has many traditions and customs which are carried forward by families the world over. These traditions and customs may be as varied as the diversity in cultures. One of the most popular traditions on Christmas is exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Everyone loves receiving gifts on Christmas. Children, with their innocence wait eagerly for Santa Claus to bring them gifts.Some even hang a stocking above their bed. As adults we understand the significance of giving more than of receiving and plan ahead to get something thoughtful for our near and dear ones. The Christmas tree is one of the symbols associated with the festival of Christmas. It takes the pride of place in every living room of every home from the time of Christmas and right upto the New Year. Decorating a Christmas tree spells family time as it brings the whole family together right before the Christmas day. Traditions and customs are the special flavor of any festivity and that holds true for Christmas as well. It is a festival that is known for its spirit of joyousness and its celebratory atmosphere. These traditions define the gaiety and spirit of the season of celebrations that we know as Christmas. The singing of carols, preparation of Christmas sweets, putting up plays and skits on the nativity and the Christmas lunch and dinner are all part of the Christmas tradition.
IN CONCLUSION: It is beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas. Bells within us have started ringing and Christmas carol groups have started going around singing. Christmas is the season of joy, greetings and of families. At Christmas time all roads lead home. This time of year means being kind to everyone we meet. It could be at home, our workplace, on the street and just about anywhere. One of the best feeling of Christmas is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. Christmas now surrounds us. It is time for us to forgive our enemies, tolerate our opponents, embrace our friends, love ourselves and give to those who do not have.
(The writer is a practicing criminal lawyer).