We are in strange times. Who would have thought that COVID would take the shine of Christmas away. But has it? The challenges of a pandemic and all the restrictions because of it, are compelling Christians to identify the fundamentals of Christmas. Different Gospels for the Masses on this day offer pointers to meditate on different aspects of the mystery of Incarnation of the Lord. The Birth of Jesus is a good news.
The genealogy used by Matthew to introduce Jesus is not meant to be the ancestry of the child. Matthew embed the story of Jesus in the story of God’s first chosen people. The names and events mentioned in the genealogy reminds us of God’s disclosure to the Jewish people. In a much fuller way, God is with us, Immanuel, in the person of Jesus. David and Solomon were sinners. Tamar and Ruth, two of the four women mentioned were not Jewish; they were foreigners. Yes, the incarnation of God was not for the righteous, but for sinners and outsiders. Therefore, no one needs to feel excluded from the grace of the incarnation. You may have learned of shadows in your own family history. Still the grace of Christmas is meant for you too. Christmas means, in spite of human imperfections, our God is with us, Immanuel.
We are led to believe in the myth that military power, good medical system, and affluence can secure life. COVID challenges it. In spite of intelligent planning and political will, humanity is reminded that it is God who rules. This truth is highlighted in the narrative about the birth of Jesus according to Luke. “In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.” (Luke 2:1). Emperor Augustus, with his military power, wealth, and clever systems of governing, was presenting himself as the symbol of peace (Pax Romana) and stability. In fact he went one more step further and declared himself as the ‘son of god’. Contrast this with God incarnate. Jesus was born in a manger with the poor shepherds keeping company. In spite of his lowliness, baby Jesus was wrapped in bands of cloth, a symbol of royal birth. Yes, Jesus is the one who saves humanity, not the might of the emperor, in spite of his tall claims. In the face of the tall claims of scientific advancements, promises of a welfare state, and comfort of affluence, nothing can replace Jesus as the real saviour. Are you prepared to acknowledge it?
Jesus provides the best enlightenment. He is the Word of God incarnate. By accepting Jesus as your saviour, you and I are made a new creation. The new found life with God incarnate helps dispel all kinds of darkness, including any sense of hopelessness. The COVID isolations, financial strain, and the fear of disease helped you and me to think of new ways of fellowship and human dignity. The more you acknowledge God incarnate in the lives of others, the greater will be the peace and joy of Christmas for you. Our God, the true saviour, is with you and me. Therefore, let us sing praises and say, “Glory to God in the highest”. Let your life and mine bring peace to all people of good will. Have a merry Christmas!