Christmas should be celebrated giving priority to those who are in need during this difficult pandemic time as it is a day that marks humbleness and spirituality, Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said in his Christmas massage yesterday (24).
The Cardinal also noted, “In the circumstances of today, especially in our own country, there are many people who have been affected by all kinds of difficulties, especially in the face of COVID-19 pandemic and the disaster it caused to the economy of this country. As a result of that hundreds of families have become poor. The difference between the poor and the middle class has vanished. Therefore more and more people are suffering economic hardships and terrible difficulties. In this situation when we celebrate Christmas, we must be conscious about our responsibilities towards the poor.”
The Cardinal also emphasized that celebration of Christmas should focus more on interior values and spirituality rather than exterior merriments and commercialization.
“Dear friends, as the month of December dawns we are reminded of Christmas. And we can see that already the market place gets ready to welcome Christmas and lot of good things are exhibited in the showcases. Many get ready to celebrate the Christmas, more in the external forum than the internal forum. We often tend to forget that the central figure in this celebration, the Jesus Christ, we celebrate the birth of him on that cold morning of winter in Bethlehem. Therefore it is basically a religious festival. It is not something nearly commercial. There is nothing wrong in celebrating even with the externals, but we must always remember that the festival of Christmas reminds us that the God loves us intensely and therefore he wish to be born among us and save us from sin and selfishness.
The essential message of Christmas is love and this great message brought to humanity by Jesus Christ, his life, death and resurrection. Christmas is a festival of joy and happiness, but more interior and spiritual joy. It is a hope giving event.It is God becoming man and giving hope and joy to humanity. According to Pope Benedict the sixteenth, Christmas is the moment that changed the history of humanity. The spirit of Christmas is indeed something different than what we experience in the marketplace, because Jesus Christ selected to born in a very humble and poor circumstances. We know that because of the gospel stories mention about that. His parents, Mary and Joseph, went far from their home town to be registered in Bethlehem because there was a Census ordered that time, for essentially migrants, who migrated from their original place of habitation. City was crowded and there was no place for them in any inn. And Jesus was to be born there and they had no place to have this birth, therefore they had to choose an abandoned grotto.
It was an event marked by extreme poverty and extreme nothingness. Jesus Christ, the saviour of the world, a king of kings, a lord of lords, the son of God, opted to be born in such a humble circumstance, which gives us a message, that we as human beings today must be concern about our brothers and sisters who are in need. Mary and Joseph could not have found a place in the inn where the rich were enjoying themselves. But they had to be happy in that lonely poor grotto where the animals used to grace and stay. Therefore it is very important for us to understand that every celebration of Christmas must be a celebration of humbleness, closeness very much to the poor.” “Jesus Christ choose to be born poor and in humble circumstances, it must challenge Christians especially and all the others, to be concerned about all these people who are suffering. It is a moment of giving not of taking. It is a moment of sharing, it is a moment of self-giving, a moment of sacrifice, joy that comes from sacrifices, self-giving, the Jesus Christ came to earth to proclaim to us his love, the love of God, for humanity, that went to the extent of dying on the cross, to save humanity.” the message furthered.
“It is important therefore, in Christmas, be concerned about the poor especially in the present situation. Let us not waste. Let us not engage in frivolous entertainments and pleasures, because if we think Christmas is just to enjoy, the next day will be an experience of emptiness. I wish all of you a very happy and holly Christmas. But a Christmas not a revelers’ Christmas, but willingness to give up something that you have a right to, in order to make another person happy. May Christmas be a moment of brotherhood, sharing joy that comes from giving and a moment of deep spiritual liberation for all of us.” Cardinal Ranjith also noted. – ada derana