Merry Christmas and a happy new year! This is the most common greetings at this time of the year, the most anticipated among all the Christian holidays. It is characterized with bright colorful lights, merry making and gift giving. But more than these, it is more of a promise of redemption and peace. As the Bible says, God sent his only son to save his people and give them life everlasting.
To understand Christmas, we must look at history. Jesus was born into a world plagued of social and political conflicts, in a country that was under foreign domination. He was born underthe reign of King Herod, who did everything to stay in power including issuing a decree to kill children two years and below to keep the throne to himself.
At the time, graft and corruption was rampant in government that was under the control of the Roman empire. There was no genuine freedom or peace. Poverty was prevalent and the few who held power lived in extravagance.
And so the words of the angel appearing to the shepherds “Don’t be afraid! This day your savior is born – Christ the Lord!” (Luke 2:10) meant the world to the oppressed and exploited.
News headlines today would show that the world Jesus was born into is not so different than ours today. The deaths of children in the present administration’s “drug war”, due to militarization like the Lumads in Mindanao, due to hunger and poor health services in the countrysides among others; are just as unacceptable as the senseless killings of innocent children during King Herod’s time.
Government leaders, like in Jesus’ time, are corrupted by power and are hell bent on getting their way at the expense of the people. For as long as our leaders put their own vested interests above our nation’s genuine progress, then whatever form of government will fail.
Let us not forget graft and corruption in government, political maneuverings, worsening economic crisis and continuing exploitation, oppression and marginalization of the majority of our people.
It is in times like this that we really need Christmas. For the real meaning and significance of Christmas is the coming of Christ to bring light in the midst of darkness, hope in midst of chaos, peace in the midst of discord.
The true meaning of Christmas should bring us joy knowing that amid all the hatred, greed, selfishness, violence and indifference; there is hope, love and redemption. For this, we should be merry.
And as much as we should be merry, we should also take up the challenge of following Christ’s example just as he enjoined every Christian to do so.
Just as Christ stood up against the evils of his time, there is no greater joy than for more men and women following his example of building a world where justice, peace and love reigns. # nordis.net