The story of Christmas
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke Chapter 2 verses 7-14
So that's what Christmas is all about. GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST. PEACE ON EARTH AND GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN.
Note that there is no tribalisation of peace and goodwill. Those are the birthright of every people who walk the earth at all times.
Let no one be put off by the 'city of David'. Every new born needs a recognised local habitation. That's the way of the world. It does not mean that the city or people of David have proprietorship over peace and goodwill . They are for all human beings.
Today's newspapers are shedding tears over the toning down of Christmas celebrations around the world on account of the global meltdown. Let's not add to this flood of media tears. If the one whose birth we celebrate was born in a stable, penury is no sin. In 2008, let the world celebrate Christmas the way it should be ideally done. Low key, no splurging in the name of a person who walked the earth teaching the virtues of penury; let it be an occasion to recall his frequent reminder about the maya like nature of glitter and pelf.
For the world trembling before the threat of violence generated by hatred, this is an occasion to recall that he had only one message. The message of love. His rhetoric did not provide for hatred and violence, murder and mass murder? This is the occasion for the world to remind itself that to kill and conquer in the name of this person who preached 'love unto death', is a gross disservice to him.
So what is the message of Christmas? The parable cited below gives the answer in no uncertain terms.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?". "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" asked Jesus. The man answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus said: (the parable starts here) "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead with no clothes. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke, chapter 10, verses 25–37
So, let us not us shed tears that global meltdown has decreased our purchasing power. Instead, let us be the good Samaritan and keep our eyes wide open today for those with less purchasing power than us.
Peace to you all.