Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Journey 347

Read: Luke 2: 1-17
     Christmas lights and decorations are a treat to watch in this country during Christmas. In fact every house is competing with each other in making their Christmas decoration not only outside the house but also inside the house a grand spectacle. People from all corners are travelling from different part of the cities to watch the wonderful and colorful decoration of lights, Christmas artifacts and other eye beholding spectacle. As each house competes with each other to make their decorations memorable, a woman in Maricopa, Arizona named Kristina Green has made a creative display of Christmas decorations which is now getting national attention. The reason as to why she is getting this attention is because of her neighbour Eric Cyr. Eric Cyr would always make his decorations and lighting of his house during Christmas a grandeur spectacle. He would always outshine his neighbours in terms of the lights displayed. But this year instead of becoming more grandeur and trying to outshine his neighbours in terms of decorations, Eric decided to help out his neighbour Kristina Green also with a creative display of her  own. After decorating his house with magnificent light that consisted of about 16,000 lights, Eric then helped his neighbour Kristina Green by putting a giant “DITTO” sign in the lights outside her home with an arrow pointing right at Eric’s house. Eric used about 400 lights to decorate Kristina’s house and ever since the sign was put the day after thanksgiving, Kristina Green’s home has become a centre of attraction in this town of about 30,000 people. And when this whole story was published by the news papers, people are flocking at night to take pictures. Both the houses are enjoying the show and national attention. In a society where Christmas time is consciously commercialized as holiday season and also being attacked by various quarters stating that “let us keep the merry in this holidays and leave out the myth”, I think both Kristina and Eric is showing at least the spirit behind Christmas, even though it is being expressed in the so called paraphernalia’s of Christmas decorations. Unknowingly this season is a time when homes and individuals are competing sometimes to brazenly display their wealth or trying to catch attention of the neighborhood with fancy lights and decorations. What was heartwarming in the above incident concerning Eric and Kristina was that at least Eric had a concern for his neighbour, a remorse that while he spent lavishly on Christmas decorations, his neighbour could only look at his decorations, leave along to compete with him. What is happening today is that we miss the message, the spirit the values that the Son of God wanted to teach us through His birth while we celebrate His birth. Hence this advent season what is  needed is that values like being sensitive to the need of the neighbour, the concern and the remorse in life when we try to live extravagant life is what is needed to be reclaimed this Christmas and it only when we do that the true meaning of Christ birth could be understood.
                  We are meditating on the theme “ Transformed Living” and the portion that we shall meditate from Luke 2: 1-7. In this portion we find many people who could not comprehend the true meaning of the incarnation, and in another sense missed being part of redemptive history, of  being a part and a channel of God redemptive plan for human kind. One of the character who is always relegated to the background is the inn keeper. There is no mention as such about the inn keeper in the Bible. Hence it is on presumptions that we understand that here is a man who did not recognize Joseph and Mary, nor could he be sensitive to the need of pregnant Mary. I am  sure if he knew that Mary was the bearing the Son of God, he would have made elaborate arrangements for her. But he never was sensitive nor empathetic to anyone and may be that is why he did not feel the agony, nor did he feel remorse when he told Joseph and Mary that there was no place in the inn.  Here is a man who is extremely busy at that period of time in Bethlehem. The city was bustling with people, people from all corners coming to pay taxes, to get themselves registered and this meant that they needed accommodation and Bethlehem did not have facilities to accommodate every one. The Inn is actually a public shelter just like the shelter home for the homeless that we have in this part of the country and even there you did not have place. The inn keeper may have been running here and there trying to keep everyone happy and may be also trying to get a fast buck, because once the census is over, he may have to wait till another opportune time like festival to get this sort of crowd, to have some financial gains. We don't know if that was what he thought. Yet whatever be his thinking he missed the opportunity to be a gracious host to a lady who was in need, he missed an opportunity to be the host of the king of kings, basically because he was more involved in activities which he felt was more beneficial to him and that made him deaf, dumb and blind to the needs of the Nazareth family. I think this Christmas we may be also like the inn keeper, very busy with lot of activities and preparation. Preparing the best dishes for our guest who may come visiting our homes, decorating our houses in the best possible ways, but then in the midst of all these activities, do we miss or are we blind to the needs of our neighbour, our parish member or being a source of some help and blessing to others?. Let us not miss the message and values that our Lord taught us as we celebrate His birth and if we miss then we are relegating our Christmas celebration to mere show of extravagant lights and decorations.

Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla