Much before Christmas

Much before Christmas, a school was conducting many rehearsals with little children for a drama on the birth of Jesus. The public were shocked and surprised when the play was staged. During the play, Mary with her husband Joseph approaches an inn-keeper who is supposed to say he has no place for them except a stable to birth the child. In the play, the little girl playing the role of Mary makes an emotional appeal to the inn-keeper, “Sir, I beg of you, we have no place to go. I am tired and exhausted.”

The boy playing the role of the inn-keeper, looking at the emotional face of the girl, forgets his dialogue.

 Instead of refusing Mary, the boy very compassionately says, “Oh. Lady, Don’t cry… No problem…Cool down. I will give you and your husband the best place in my inn.” The screen closed abruptly.

God took the form of the ‘human person’ (Jesus) in order to identify himself with the human condition. When a Christian becomes a channel of peace and goodwill to others, he or she lives the very Christmas message.

The season of Advent (from the Latin word ‘adventus’ meaning ‘coming’) is a season of spiritual preparation that begins on the fourth week before Christmas.

During this season, the Church exhorts Christians to reflect on the angelic proclamation to the Shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill to all” (Luke 2:13-14).

The season of Advent, a period of ‘waiting’ to receive the Lord, is punctuated with Biblical exhortations like “keep awake,” “be alert,” “watch and pray,” “Be prepared,” manifest in songs, sermons, scripts and supplications.

The ‘waiting’ is not a simple waiting for a calendar-date December 25 that culminates in celebration.

In essence, the waiting period is a period of spiritual preparation to receive The Lord ‘fully alive’ at Christmas.

To be fully alive is to be fully human. The scriptural readings and prayers during the season help evaluate how human we are in our relationships in comparison to the life of Jesus; self-giving, cheerful, forgiving and accommodating, merciful and compassionate, humble, loving, and a man of justice and peace.

A little boy came home very excited and hugged his mom saying, “Mamma, mamma, I got selected for the Christmas play today.” The mother asked, “And what role have they given you?” The boy added with greater excitement, “You know, they have asked to be the ‘voice of God’ in the play.”

If days ahead of Christmas we get too pre-occupied organising and scheduling plans and programmes like holidays and travel, community gatherings, social and business dinners and parties, we could miss becoming that ‘voice of God’ in word and action.

Amidst the planning and celebrations, one really wishes that the ‘voice of God’ is still loud and clear.

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