Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Preparation of Christmas

Rev. Abraham Kuruvilla
Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ
15 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. 

When ministering in Bethel Mar Thoma Church, Thannithode, Kerala, I witnessed a unique way of going for carol rounds. The people would go to the houses which were situated on the streets from one end to another and would sing songs. After this, as is customary, the people of all faith would offer money as their offering. But, to my utter surprise and also that of the members of the houses, the church members didn’t take it. They said god's gift is free and that’s Christmas.
Utter foolishness some may think, for whom carols are a means to raise money.

Virgin birth is inexplicable. It doesn’t have a drop of logic or a thread of rationality. The Incarnation, …..absurd? Jesus on a cross,......absurd?  The Resurrection,…..absurd? Our Sunday school Jesus would have to be taken down from the flannel board. However, what God did, makes sense. When one leaves the method and examines the motive, the carefully stacked blocks of logic begin to tumble. It is only in this tumbling of our rational logic that, we can prepare for Christmas.

The Apostle Paul was humbly preparing himself to claim the prize that God had prepared for him (vs. 12-13). Christmas is a saga of preparation. The innkeeper was too busy to welcome God—did he ever learn who he turned away? Sometimes we are too busy in our daily life to discern the ways of God. Preparation is an act of discernment. The shepherds—did they ever hum the song the angels sang? Preparation requires obedience. The wise men who followed the star—what was it like to worship a toddler? Preparation involves plunging into the mysterious leading of God.

Preparation also requires making small changes. For Paul, it was forgetting the wrongs of his past life and focussing on the way ahead. As we celebrate Mar Thoma day, it is obligatory in the Spirit of God to do likewise. Focussing on the way ahead requires us to hold fast to what we have (vs. 16). It is not the buildings, the budget, the number of people in our Church, nor the projects. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean an escapism from all these, but rather a responsibility to all these. It is holding onto that which held us in the past years. It is none other than Jesus. Lest the Church forget what it has to hold onto, there will be nothing to hold onto.


Lord prepare us not to be prepared for us, but for You; Lord chastise us not to chastise others through us, but through You; Lord transform us not to be transformed by us, but by You; Lord build us the Church, not to be built in us, but built in You. Amen.


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