December 25, 2015
It is Christmas day. Jesus the Savior is born in a manger. In this simple sentence are three important aspects of Christian life and mission.
First, Jesus is the Savior. God sent His own Son into the world to suffer and die for us, so that we might be saved and be reconciled to Him. God wants all to be saved. For them to be saved, they need to accept the salvation won for them by Jesus, by accepting him in faith as Savior and Lord. For this to happen, the good news of salvation in him needs to be proclaimed so that it can be heard. This points to the all-important work of evangelization. And to reach all, it must be massive, to the ends of the earth. Christmas is about evangelization.
Second, Jesus is born of a human family. God chose His Son to be born of a woman, in the family of Joseph and Mary. Despite the urgency of the Messiah’s work, Jesus remained in the womb for 9 months and remained in the home for 30 years. In the home Jesus was taught the scriptures by his parents, was formed in godly values and virtues, experienced authentic human love and care. All these were preparation for his public ministry. This points to the great importance of family. The family is the basic unit of society and of the Church. The family is also the base camp for evangelizers. What happens in families will determine to a large extent how people live out their lives in the world. Thus we need to look to the continuing renewal and strengthening of the family. Christmas is about family renewal.
Third, Jesus is born in a manger, poor and powerless. The Jews were waiting for a powerful King who would deliver them from their enemies. But God chose to cause His Son, indeed a King, to be rejected at the inn and be born in a stable. Lowly shepherds were his first visitors. Jesus remained poor throughout his life, and at his death, was buried in a borrowed tomb. This points to God’s love and preferential option for the poor. In the cause of justice, the poor need to experience spiritual as well as material liberation. Thus we need to look to loving and serving the poor. Christmas is about building the Church of the Poor.
This Christmas, we celebrate and rejoice in the coming of Jesus. And we remind ourselves why he came—to save us, to point to the importance of family, and to express solidarity with the poor. As such, this is our continuing work—evangelization, family renewal, and work with the poor.
Merry Christmas to you all.
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God bless you all.
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