“May the Peace pronounced in the first Christmas by the angels be ours through the advent of our Lord into our lives!,”
Christmas involves a lot of symbols that continuously generate meanings that are relevant for all contexts of life. One such symbols is the cattle-shed, where Jesus was born. Cattle-shed is interpreted in comparison with other possible places of his birth, namely the “inn” and the “palace of Herod.” All the Inns in Bethlehem where full and were closed to the couple Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:7). The Inn fails at least at two levels. Firstly, it fails to empathize with the urgent need of a human couple, who were in search of a place to birth their child. Secondly, it fails because it opts out from participating in the event of God Almighty’s redemptive act that will bring wellbeing to the whole human race eternally; rather it prefers to be part of the economic processes that increase profit in monetary terms. The Herod’s palace goes a step ahead in being not only unwelcoming to baby Jesus but being inimical to his advent. The palace conspires against the plan of God (Matthew 2:3-4 &7). But in contrast to these walled and secured places, the stable as a relatively open and vulnerable place welcomes the savior and makes room for Him to be born in spite of the stringent conditions inside. The “openness” of the stable to accommodate is a noble model to be emulated by the Christians today. Let this Christmas be a time when we shed all our prejudices and be open to accept each other in our lives. Let this Christmas also be a time when we experience the warmth of peace and reconciliation in our lives, because we attempt to emulate the quality of the stable in Bethlehem to make room for the Savior and thus for our neighbors in our lives.
We’re happy that we could contribute in small way towards the Atlanta Project of our diocese. A good many people contributed without much compulsion. It may not be bringing direct benefits to the Houston Mar Thoma community, but it will surely evolve as an integral ministry in determining the future of the Mar Thoma diaspora here in the United States. It has a lot of facilities that attract the youth of our church to it like the play grounds, indoor gymnasium, amphi-theatre, convention center etc. The diocese is also planning to have retirement homes there. In addition to that it will also be used as a center for theological learning for clergy as well as laity. I thank all who have generously contributed towards this project. Our X’mas gifts to the evangelists in India is a great support for the evangelistic activities of the Church. This year also we are trying to reach as many evangelists as possible.
We are nearing the end of another calendar year in our life this month. Let us thank God Almighty for the protection and care that we experienced throughout this passing year. The year end is also a time of auditing. It is good to take a pause and think about our contribution to the overall wellbeing of families, prayer groups, neighborhoods, and Church. A possible prayer could be; “Lord, I realize that I could be a better person than what I am today. Make ma a better human as you want me to be. Amen.” Each year brings the hope of greater peace and joy. But they are not things that can be taken for granted. We need to strive for peace and joy in our midst relentlessly. Let us make the various platforms of ministries in our Church as means to build peace and joy in the lives of people by being centered in Christ Jesus our savior.
May the Almighty God bless you all with a peaceful New Year!
Jacob P Thomas achen