Thursday, December 20, 2012

Read: Luke 2: 1-20          We come across lot of people in our life. At times you leave impression on their life and at other times it is they who make lasting impression on you. Today I would like the world to know about a wonderful person who has made a lasting impression on my life and ministry. Her name is Lata and she is the daughter of Cherian Philip and Geetha Cherian, members of the New Jersey Marthoma Church, USA. She has two other sisters Melissa and Loraine. Today is her 20th birthday and please read the blog that Lata wrote on her birthday today.
    “My name is LATA. I am down syndrome. That is what everyone says. According to people, I am not intelligent. Yes, I can't do so many things that most of them do. But I do a lot of things for others. My main job is worshiping my Creator. I love to sing and praise HIM. I like to intercede for others, especially for those who suffer. Everyday I pray for my family, relatives, friends, neighbors, for evangelist, pastors, priests, Bishops and for all those who serve the LORD. I pray for the peace of the world. I pray for all the people in all the countries. I just want this world to know that JESUS is the only way to heaven. I want to be a blessing not a burden for others. I know JESUS will use me for HIS GLORY. Amen. December 20th is my birthday. I am grateful to the LORD for giving me a chance to live in this world. Thank you LORD for creating me so special. Thank you for everyone who prayed for me and supported me. I thank my Dad and Mom for all their hard work and sacrifices. I have a request for everyone. Please take care of everyone who are special like me. God will reward you greatly in heaven”.
        Lata has always been special from the day we met three years ago. She was very regular in attending and partaking in the Holy Communion. I would always say a special prayer as I offered the holy elements to Lata. When she leaves the church, she would leave with a smile and a greeting for all of us. One of her painting adorn our front room of my parsonage. She has a special way of praying and that is what you find in her blog. What makes her special is that she consciously tried to enter into my world and hence today as she celebrates her birthday, I felt I need to enter into her world. One of the tragedies in life is that we always want others to know us, to relate to us, and enter our world to make us special, but we never attempt to enter into a world of another person, especially an individual who is diversely and uniquely different from us. As we celebrate advent, I think one of the truths that we need to learn and incorporate in our life, is to consciously enter into the world of others, to make them special and make a difference in their life. Lata all these years entered into life of others and made them special and hence on her birthday I feel we need to enter not only to the world of Lata but host of other people who are different from us, so that our lives are made special. How can we do that in this advent season.
 We are meditating on the theme “Transformed Living” and the portion that we shall use for our meditation is from Luke 2: 1-20. Who are the main characters in the Christmas story. The main characters are two unknown characters; Joseph and Mary. We just don't know much about them as they were relatively unknown and they came from a relatively unknown background. When Jesus was born, the good news of the saviour birth is announced by the angel to a group of people who is always on the move, their shelter is often the open sky– the shepherds. These are the people who were the first witnesses to the birth of our Lord. Is there any thing special in the way God uses these ordinary individuals in His incarnation ministry. I believe yes. In choosing Joseph and Mary and depicting shepherds as the first receiver of the good news, God is communicating to the world through incarnation that it is these ordinary people who are special to him and it is these ordinary people whom he values. The common people who has nothing to boast, except their poverty, suffering, the financial issues, lack of proper housing, and last but not the least lot of handicaps in life which make them outcast in the society. In any society, people who are poor, suffering or one who is different are often relegated to the background. Their place is in the periphery of the society, family and church. It is in such a context that through incarnation, God tells his people the message that He values and has a preferential option for all these people and they are the ones whom He values and loves the most. This is what makes Lata special and God “loves” Lata more than all of us and His love for her is very “special”. It is this understanding that God gives to us that we need to incorporate in our life of loving others who go through crisis, people who are special and who are often relegated to the periphery of human life. Another aspect in the Christmas story is the conscious attempt of God to enter into human life and history and make us his children. In  all other faith, you find people trying to reach God and please him through various means. But through Jesus Christ we have Lord who come into our life and to our world and shares our humanity with him. It is this wonderful aspect that make advent so special. I have a God who entered into my world and made all of us special. Hence this Christmas let us also try to enter into the world of another person, especially those people who need our love, respect and not sympathy, thus making our world more beautiful through the diverse differentness in each one of us. There are lot of people like Lata who have entered into our world, so can we this day enter into the world of people like Lata, so that we could truly appreciate her and praise God for His wonderful ways and unique ways [ Psalms 139] because just as she prayed God is using mightily for His glory.

Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla