We are celebrating Christmas during a time of unprecedented economic and political crisis faced in the history of our country. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand the true meaning of the celebration of the birth of Christ and the responsibility that it entails as well.
Christ was born amidst many uncertainties that prevailed in Palestine at that time. Ordinary farmers and fishermen were pauperized. A confusing political configuration was prevalent, where the power and authority of the Roman Caesar, was manifested through henchmen like King Herod and the Roman soldiers walking the streets of Palestine. The religious and religious institutions embarked on tacit collaboration with the powers that be, not only for their survival but also to benefit from the oppressive economic and social evils of that day. The ordinary people lived in fear and anxiety with a sense of hopelessness not knowing what the future holds for them.
It was very similar social climate to what we experience in our country today. Therefore, the Good News of peace on earth and goodwill among all humankind proclaimed by the angels, and the hope that God’s intervention in our social reality will change the future destiny of doom and despair as proclaimed by prophet Isaiah, has to be appropriated in our contemporary social reality.
The Christmas hope dawned through a Child, who had no room in the inn and was born in a vulnerable manger amidst the cattle. True celebration of Christmas entails in our responsibility to search diligently for all the Children who have no room nor even safe space in our contemporary reality today. The increasing malnutrition among children and evil clutches of the drug menace that deliberately ruins the innocent Children should be our Concern and worry this Christmas. Concrete steps taken to safe-guard our Children is authentic celebration of Christmas.
The Christmas hope dawned because of a sacrifice of a young virgin, Mother Mary, who could not grasp the mystery of the Child she bore, yet fulfilling her responsibility in obedience to the will of God. We need to pay special attention to the plight of many women who are losing their dignity due the present crisis. We need to understand the sad plight of women who are forced to sell their bodies due to poverty through prostitution, abuse and exploitation. We also need to seek the welfare and dignity of all women who work as domestics whose hard labor in vulnerable conditions brings valuable foreign exchange to our country. Restoring the dignity and security of our women makes Christmas celebration meaningful.
The Christmas hope dawned because of the righteousness, morality and goodness that ruled the heart of a pauperized carpenter called Joseph. We need to be concerned of the untold misery experienced by the vulnerable and poor sections of the people, who struggle to feed the hungry stomachs and meet their medicinal needs due to the prevailing economic conditions.
At the same time Christmas entails the re-ordering of the moral fabric of our society and being rooted in a secure ethical foundation of the nations. At Christmas Grace and truth embraced each other, Justice and peace kissed each other. Therefore, we need to be alert, conscious and appropriately respond as to the ethical and moral norms on which we are trying build the future of our nation. We need to revisit the attempts to replenish the much-needed foreign exchange reserves by resorting to unethical measures like promoting high ended Casinos, growing ganja, turning a blind eye towards increasing prostitution in the country and the loss of dignity of our women working overseas as domestics etc. Such actions will only destroy the social fabric our nation and make our women and children more vulnerable. Recapturing and revitalizing a secure and firm moral foundation make Christmas vibrant and meaningful.
Amidst all uncertainties, the celebration of Christmas is a celebration of hope. The hope is that the future will be bright, where the people living in darkness will see light, and where all social conditions will be transformed affirming human dignity, ensuring good will among all humans, where all live without anger and hunger ensuring lasting peace. The celebration of this hope entails that we change our life style and life priorities to correspond to the new era we visualize and be living symbols of that hope. Embracing living out that transformation is the true meaning of Christmas.
May the celebration of Christmas enable us to join hands as one Sri Lankan family and restore the moral and ethical foundations of our society, where all live with dignity and specially our children, Women and the poor are freed from all evil menaces in society.
Rev. W.P. Ebenezer Joseph
President of Conference
METHODIST CHURCH SRI LANKA