We all remember how the country was wrecked with wind and rain only a few weeks ago. Most of the people had to go through severe inconvenience of spending an entire night without electricity. Did you give a thought to people who lived thousands of years up to about the last century, who spent every night of their lives without electricity?
Were they inconvenienced, unhappy and sad because of it? No, they did not know what electricity was. The same can be said of the television and the Internet. Some of us remember an era before television where we spent our evenings content and happy without missing and longing for teledramas and soap operas. The point is that we don’t miss what we don’t know nor long for things that don’t exist.
In the modern era archaeologists have been able to discover more about our early ancestors than we have ever known before. Now we know for a fact that our early ancestors lived in caves and used rudimentary tools made from stones to survive in a hostile and harsh environment. It is now known as the stone-age.
When experts sifted through the caves in which our ancestors lived they not only found stone weapons and tools but something quite remarkable. Rudimentary cave paintings sketched on the walls clearly showed their longing for and prayers to gods.
There were sketches of tree god, sun god, moon god or any other element that attracted them. The uniqueness of the homo sapiens is clearly the longing for the divine and the inner awakening of the spiritual. What is remarkable is that no other animal has such an internal longing for the spiritual or the help of God. If we go back to the argument of the generation before us living contentedly without electricity, then we realise that the search for the spiritual and the divine is inbuilt in humanity.
Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who has had a remarkable impact on the spiritual dimension of humanity.
Born to poor parents, a carpenter by profession, collecting to himself a bedraggled group of disciples, who were themselves fishermen, tax collectors -who were outcast of that society, zealots -considered insurgents-was not taken seriously by the powerful people in his lifetime.
Seen as a nuisance and a threat he was hounded and crucified between two criminals. Normally he should have ended in the trash bin of history soon forgotten.
Yet, today he has inspired and continues to inspire billions of people. What he said and how lived and died touches that place within humanity that longs for a deeper answer to the questions of existence and our purpose in life. He, like all founders of major religions, invites people to search for and find deeper answers to the needs of their lives.
From ancient times people had to choose between two types of Gods. First a god or philosophy that called them to see deeper into themselves, and find better and higher ways to live and care about others.
Secondly were the gods known as ‘baal’ that asked for no higher form of living or moral obligations but promised answers to those who offered oblations to them.
Unfortunately, Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ has today been hijacked by commercialism and consumerism. Intense marketing strategies are pushing people towards making this event an expensive, self-indulgence with a focus on one’s own self.
Today let us remember what makes Jesus Christ relevant for our world. Without focussing on money, he gave himself to others and raised them up. He said that he has a peace to give that the world cannot give. He promised the fullness of joy. He often spoke of a concept called divine providence that came to those who did what pleased God, his father.
Therefore, let us learn from him today to focus on the spiritual dimension of life and realise that when we focus on others and are open to their cares and needs, the one thing we truly long for and never seem to have enough of-happiness- will come looking for us.
Let us seek out and reach out to those who are in need and around us and discover the heart of Christ this Christmas.