Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem which is God’s loving entry into human history. In this mystery of the Incarnation God revealed to us the depths of his abounding love for humankind. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3: 16).
By his coming into our World he wants us to share in the fullness of life which he alone can give (John 10/10). Thus, Jesus accompanies us and dwells with us. The name given to Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us”. Hence, our celebration of Christmas cannot and should not be a mere recalling of a past event. It is an occasion to understand more deeply the real value of life and to witness to its fullness in the society we live.
Christmas therefore reminds us of the need to invite Jesus into our lives, our families and our society. This seemingly simple birth in a stable in Bethlehem is a universal call towards conversion so that we would be more sensitive to the needs of others irrespective of various differences. Although Christmas is a joyful season, we need to be careful not to make it merely an external celebration. The true and inner joy of Christmas comes from a conversion of heart and accepting Jesus as the Lord and Savior of our lives.
While we engage in various forms of charitable activities during Christmas we also have a duty to be more sensitive to the human needs and sufferings prevailing in our country.
As Jesus was born among the poor Christmas invites us to pay careful attention to the poor and be sensitive to the various forms of human needs and sufferings prevailing in our society. The question of poverty can be alleviated only by creating just economic structures. True development of the human beings can happen only in a society where there is mutual respect, justice and peace. A sincere commitment of everyone is needed in creating this environment in our country.
Let us commit ourselves to change all that is not in keeping with God’s holy will in our midst by becoming agents of peace, harmony and reconciliation by forgetting the petty differences which hinder the common good. As we give thanks to God for the beautiful gift of Jesus, let us pray that all of us will be renewed by the Spirit to be His living witnesses.
We wish all our Faithful, our fellow citizens and all men and women of goodwill a Blessed Christmas!
Rt. Rev. Dr. J Winston S. Fernando, SSS
Rt. Rev. Dr. D. Valence Mendis
Catholic Bishops’ Conference in