The spirit of Christmas
Over recent centuries, especially in the west, the season of Christmas has been commercialised and glamourised beyond recognition, and its basic significance has faded into the background, perhaps forgotten.
The Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, the exchange of gifts, the shopping, the new clothes, the house decorations, the dancing and singing, the community festivities - these are a far cry from the simplicity of the event that all of us supposedly commemorate: the birth of the messenger of peace and goodwill, in a manger in a stable meant for animals, attended only by his carpenter family parents and poor shepherds from the surrounding fields.
If Jesus Christ were to come back to earth again, he may find it difficult to recognise that today’s Christmas day is a celebration of his birth and its message!
He may also be saddened to learn that the Punjab Police plans to deploy 2,500 policemen, including sharp shooters, to provide security to 433 churches in Lahore at Christmas.
The message that the angels proclaimed at the birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago seems to grow in relevance with each passing year. It is actually the central theme of all faiths and religions, a manifesto of tolerance, acceptance and understanding among all of God’s creation, and a yearning for harmony and serenity among the peoples of the world.
This message was delivered to us when the population of the world was only 150 million. Today, when mankind has exploded to over 7 billion, when the reasons and opportunities for strife and dissension have increased and multiplied, when resources and the assets of nature are being strained and over-stressed, it is critical for man to ponder and internalize the true meaning of Christmas.
The equitable distribution of wealth, the realisation that man cannot really be happy or at peace unless others around him are also content, the constant need to demonstrate ‘good will’ to all around us, especially the poor, the sharing of our good fortune with those who do not have as much: this is the gist of the Christmas feast.
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