“Those were the days… when Christmas meant values, it meant loving and caring…Today Christmas is all about business, shopping for, giving and receiving gifts- promotions, sales etc. We live in a materialistic world and is never going to be the same anymore”
I have heard this refrain consistently for the past many years. Sermons in the church try to emphasize on the fact that Christmas is the time for a new beginning when Jesus Christ was born in a manger, somewhere in Bethlehem centuries ago. Countless parties showcase Father Nick dressed in his red merry outfit, exclaiming “Ho! Ho! and handing over gifts to both grownups and kids alive. Carols are created and sung in every nook and corner, people celebrate and drown themselves in opulence and pomp!
What is Christmas? Is it merely the day when Jesus was born in a manger centuries ago? Was he even born on that day? If one follows the messages of Jesus and if he were to be in today’s world on December 25, he would have the shock of his life. It is not the materialism or the maddening gaiety or the pomp that would have concerned him. He wouldn’t care. It is the lack of empathy and care among human beings that would have worried him the most.
If one follows the birth, life and teachings of our Lord, you can see a common strand in his teachings, miracles and events around his life- his empathy towards everyone-from a Roman soldier, to a tax collector, to a prostitute and even to the person who eventually betrayed him. He could look straight in the eyes of the other person and feel his fear, pain, concerns and hopes. He could then talk to him honestly and intentionally in a language that instilled in them a feeling that- someone actually cares for them and their life.
Next one would be to ‘care for others’. The harsh realities of today’s world has made man immune to expecting care or even love from his fellow human beings. Take for an example, smartphones were made as a tool to make people more productive, creative and smart in addition to communicate more with each other. What it has achieved is create a generation of addicts where memory is Evernote, communication is FaceTime or Hangouts or even Whatsapp.
If we had the care and empathy, I am absolutely sure Jesus would have personally delivered gifts to everyone and give poor Father Nick a much needed break! After all we do need to care about and empathize with the poor soul (whose idea of giving gifts and delivering happiness keeps us warm and joyful in this blessed season) as well!!
Image courtesy: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/14/Carl_R%C3%B8gind_julekort.jpg