15 Christmas in Hearts or ...?

posted Dec 11, 2018, 8:21 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Dec 11, 2018, 8:21 AM ]
Fr Michael Baptist Fernandes, OFM CAP.

Christmas is celebrated all over the world, and it is one of the feasts which has universal appeal and character; all believers and non-believers celebrate it. But over the period of centuries, the meaning and significance of Christmas has been changed by the concepts of secularism, and now, in many countries, it is reduced to celebration of Santa Claus, and Jesus the Saviour is forgotten. Christmas is more in the malls, stores and things, buying and selling, in presents and gifts, spending huge amounts of money. In the first Christmas, this secularist and consumerist concept was not present. There was only Jesus, Mother Mary, Joseph, shepherds and poor people. There was only good news and healing, there was sharing and solidarity, there was joy and happiness shared beyond religions.

Today, Christmas is more in secular places like malls etc. where Jesus is projected along with a variety of objects on sale, and we hardly find the real Jesus, who came with good news of new life of Love, Peace and Joy. It is sad to see that we have many things around Christmas, but He is absent or not given prominence. Today, we feel happy to purchase things to make Christmas more decorative, and it is good to do so, but can we avoid the danger of falling in temptation to make Christmas only a feast of objects, and forgetting the reason for the celebration? Christmas should liberate us from our bondage of sin, darkness and sadness, and all the pomp and show of Christmas would not liberate us, but only Jesus. Jesus is not a movie actor who plays a character, and we celebrate the Hero without inviting Him to be part of our celebration. It is good that we decorate houses, illuminate streets, everything is welcome; but without Jesus, Mary and Joseph, there cannot be a real Christmas. Many things can be missing during Christmas, but not Jesus. Because He is missing from our celebration, society has made Him a character to be celebrated without His mighty and liberating presence.

Where is the real Christmas? Christmas is next door where an old couple is lonely and forgotten, sick and unattended, hungry and no food for days, need attention of a doctor but no one to take them to hospital. Christmas is in mangers of today, created by our selfish society between rich and poor, black and white, upper and lower class and caste. In these mangers, Jesus is purposely thrown out, though He would like to stay to rectify and bring about equality and Justice. Today, those who have everything lack Him, who could be in the neighborhood or who is knocking every now and then, but our doors are permanently locked for Him, or we have become deaf to hear Him and blind to see Him with our wealth and richness. During Christmas, we may have everything, but in the hearts of the members of our families, Jesus may not be there or He is not born. So Christmas then merely becomes a party, an event, a day to enjoy good food and wear good clothes, without really seeing Him.