Deck the halls with boughs of holly??fa la la la la la la la la
‘This the season to be jolly?? fa la la la la la la la la
Yes, it’s Christmas again!
This is the time for us to be jolly as we celebrate Advent, the coming of Christ. It is Advent that brought us tidings of joy, peace and happiness and this message is repeated every year. In fact one may say that Christmas has become such a familiar event, that many consider it boring and a part of history ? Christ was born some 2000 years ago, you see!
The mention of the word ‘Christmas’ conjures up, in our mind, the Christmas Tree with all its decorations, the Crib-set, the new clothes, the dances & parties, not forgetting the lip-smacking kuswar and the big Christmas lunch; but as we decorate the Tree or put up the Crib, have we reflected, even for a fleeting moment, on their true meaning?
This is why we need to look beyond the glamour, beyond the festivities and beyond the glitter of Christmas and try to capture its riches & essence; try to identify the true meaning of Christmas in our lives. Let’s spend a moment reflecting on their meanings…
The Tree ? which with its evergreen leaves and needles points towards the heavens ? symbolizing everlasting life. Incidentally, green is the second colour of Christmas, red being the primary one standing for Christ?s sacrifice for us.
The Star ? which we hang atop our homes/balconies, is a shining hope for us, mankind, by the prophecy that was fulfilled long ago.
The Bells ? surely most of us have listened to Jim Reeves’ baritone rendering of ‘Silver Bells’, but do we realize that the bells serve as a reminder to us to follow their peal ? just like lost sheep who follow the sound of the ringing bells of the flock when they go astray.
The Candle ? the candle-lit Christmas meal sure is yummy and quite a stomachful, but did the candle remind us to give thanks to the Star of Bethlehem, before we filled our tummy?
The Wreath ? How often is it that we proclaim our love for one other, but sadly most of the time, that love comes with conditions attached and is time-bound, unlike the never ending eternal value of love that the wreath signifies?
The Ribbon ? which we tie around Christmas gifts; we too need to be strong & remain united one with another in goodwill, just like this ribbon signifies.
The Crib ? whose competitions bring out the best in our creativity & ingenuity, so we can obtain a prize, but we seldom remember our prize has already been won 2000 years back when Christ became man.
The Shepherds ? we need to be like the simple hardworking, honest shepherds. We sometimes hide under layers of education & modern sophistication, confidently presuming that God cannot see us as we are. It was not the scholars, but these lowly, poor shepherds, who kept watch by night and who were hailed by the heavenly choirs. Maybe we can learn a lesson by following in their footsteps by loving and adoring God. Perhaps, it may actually be the remedy for all the man-made ills in our lives.
The Three Wise Men ? There was a bumper sticker that read, ‘Wise men still seek Him’. Unfortunately, many of us, while considering ourselves wise and enlightened, have turned out to be otherwise and have called off our seeking. These wise men who travelled from the land of hope ? the East ? brought their gifts to God. It is only when we use our lives and talents in a proper manner, pleasing to God, can we have gifted him something. We like to receive and give gifts; so why not give him this gift?
Joseph the Carpenter? Hope needs to be everyone’s trigger and motivator. Hope is something that Joseph possessed in abundance, together with obedience. It was this that motivated him to work for his family. Although he was only able to provide Mary with a cattle-shed to bring forth Jesus and only a donkey to flee Egypt, he did not consider himself a failure. How many of us today, would not deem ourselves as failures if we were to have walked in Joseph?s shoes?
Mary, of the Immaculate Conception ? Finally, let us ponder on the ‘boast of mankind’ ? Mary. How can we identify with her, the immaculately conceived house of God? As we are all sinners (and God makes saints of sinners) and we all constitute the church (which is the house of God), let us wish today that Mary may live in us, immaculately conceive and bear fruit which will be nurtured in us.
Perhaps, all of this is a tough task, given the kind of lives we lead today, but this ‘tough life’ will, in my opinion, buy us peace, buy us joy and buy us our heart?s desires, this Christmas, the next and our whole lives through.
I take this opportunity to wish the people behind this fabulous portal and all who read it a Merry Christmas.
Author: Charmaine Albuquerque- India