NOEL MEANS BIRTH OF LOVE

The Cold season begins in December. In the early morning the sun rays come through my window and endear me. The sight of the morning sun warms me up. After the rainy season the sky is clear. Slowly a red-hot ball in the sky spreads its brilliant rays. The green vegetation and the animal world come alive with new energy.

The sun shining brightly at a distance of 930 lakh miles from the earth nourishes every living beings and the whole vegetative life on earth. Imagine the earth without the sun! What will be the condition of the earth without the sun? Without the warmth of the sun-rays there will be no animal and plant life on earth! The earth-globe will be an enormous ice ball!

We experience the light and the warmth of the sun. God’s love for us, human beings, is like the sun. When we did not know God’s love for us, the Son of God, Jesus became a man and lived among us! Christmas is the birthday of Jesus who took the human form in every aspect except, as St Paul says, in sin.

The Almighty God takes the form of a humble, vulnerable human being when we cannot even imagine such a feat before it happened! The Almighty and omnipresent God become a weak human child! See the dependence of child Jesus. Like any child He is completely helpless on his own as he has become a humblest and simplest human child! The poor, simple shepherds were the first ones to hear about the birth of Jesus and came to have his ‘darshan’! They experienced joy and peace in his ‘darshan’ in a cow-shed!

But the same news of Jesus’ birth brings a totally different reaction in the palace of King Herod. The king and the whole court experienced panicky and terror! With the fear of losing his crown and his kingdom King Herod ordered the killing of all male children of two years and younger at Bethlehem and its surrounding areas! Learning that King Herod wants to destroy the child Jesus, his parents Joseph and Mary flee with the child to Egypt at the dead of the night.

The birth of Jesus and his childhood revel that Jesus is indeed a man sharing human life in every way. St Paul exhorting the followers of Jesus to walk in the footsteps of Jesus explains to us the sum and substance of Christmas saying: “He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to become equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like man and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death – his death on the cross.” (Phil. 2: 6-8)

The sinful man on his own can never reach the perfect God. There is a great unbridgeable gap, a bottomless pit, between us human beings and God. But the Son of God took a great step to fill the pit, to bridge the gap. The Creator of the whole universe, the entire creation chose to become just a part of the creation! St John has beautifully described the story of Jesus becoming a man. “The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own country but his own people did not receive him.” (John 1: 10-11)

The Jewish people were expecting for years for the coming of the Redeemer. They were eager to welcome the Redeemer. They believed that as a chosen race by God the Redeemer will come from among them. But when Jesus came as a perfect human child, the Jewish people did not recognize him as their expected Redeemer! They did not welcome him as their Redeemer! They did not welcome Jesus but continue to look forward to the coming of the Redeemer, the promised Messiah!

The Creator of the whole universe and the omnipresent God is present in our midst as a simple, helpless child! Upanishad says: “The great Soul is like the salt melting in the water. We cannot see the salt mingled in the water. Still we can know that the salt has been mixed with the water by tasting. Whether you know him or not, whether you accept him or not, whether you follow him or not, Jesus, who was born of a woman, is present in every person like the salt melted in the water.

The different, big and small characters in the Bible are models for the followers of Jesus. Like the biblical characters all the people with open mind and with God’s grace are able to recognize and welcome Jesus in their lives. Similarly we too can recognize Jesus with open mind and with God’s grace. We can accept Jesus. We can follow him. All those who seek Jesus with open mind will find him.

Jesus’ incarnation, yes Jesus’ coming among us human being is continuing today in our midst. The entire universe proclaims God’s love for us. The Babe of Bethlehem sleeping in the crib invites us saying: “Do come and recognize the infinite love which God the Father has for you in the child Jesus. His unconditional love is for you. God welcomes and accepts you as you are without any condition. He wants to make you as his own.”

Truly we can say that Christmas is a feast of love. It is indeed a celebration of God’s unconditional love for each person. So Christmas or Noel means the birth of God’s love in the person of Babe Jesus. Jesus is the personification of God’s love.