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Christmas embodies God’s immeasurable love for His people

23 December 2021 03:01 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Another Christmas is upon us and this year too it is being celebrated in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic with its never-ending mutations and variations ravaging countries across the world. In Sri Lanka, Christmas is also being celebrated in the backdrop of 847 domestic gas-related explosions -- most of them in November and December -- that killed seven people including a 53-year-old mother of four and injured 16 others; the steeply rising cost of living made worse by the sudden increase in fuel prices; the shortage of essential commodities including milk powder and the rapidly dwindling foreign currency reserves prompting Fitch, the international ratings agency, to downgrade dollar-strapped Sri Lanka’s Long Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) by one notch to “CC” from ‘CCC because of the mounting fears of a sovereign default on its US$26 billion foreign debt. 


Nevertheless, Christmas, which will be celebrated on Saturday, is a time for reflection and a time to go beyond the glittering decorations, Santa Claus, cakes and new clothes. If distracted by these superficial trappings, we are likely to miss out on the central focus of this important festival; that of God sharing His immeasurable and unconditional love with His people through the birth of Jesus. The fact that the birth of Jesus was first announced to the poor shepherds watching over their flocks by night, reminds us of the need at all times to reach out to the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized for whom survival is a daily struggle. 


In his gospel, Luke so poignantly provides us with an overview of the time and the manner of Jesus’ birth in a stable at Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago: “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all want to be registered everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.


“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”. (Luke 2:1-11)


Providing another insightful perspective to Christmas is this excerpt from an article titled ‘What Did Jesus Do’, written by Ligonier Ministries Founder Dr. R.C. Sproul. He says, “What we celebrate at Christmas is not so much the birth of a baby, as important as that is, but what is more significant about the birth of that particular baby is that in this birth we have the incarnation of God Himself. An incarnation means a coming in the flesh. We know how John begins his gospel, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So in that very complicated introductory statement, he distinguishes between the Word and God, and then in the next breath identifies the two, “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.”


We conclude today’s column with a verse from the perennial Christmas carol, ‘O Holy Night’ written by the French poet Placide Cappeau.


 “O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth; Long lay the world in sin and error pining; ‘Til He appears and the soul felt its worth; A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices; For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn; Fall on your knees, O hear the Angel voices, O night divine, O night when Christ was born, O night, O Holy night, O night divine”. 


We wish our readers the Christmas blessings of Joy, Peace and not least of all Hope in these dark and difficult times.

 


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Order Gifts and Flowers to Sri Lanka. See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Kids Toys, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,Astrology, Courier/Delivery, Medicine Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka

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