Monday, December 22, 2008

Shall we celebrate Christmas – New Year or Not?

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
And therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him

These days in India Church leaders are making many announcements such as recently the Dehradun Anglo-Indian Association has decided to cancel all Christmas and New Year festivities as a mark of respect for the victim in the Mumbai terror attack. (Times of India December 6, 2008). Some institutions and churches are celebrating Christmas and New Year in Dehradun. Common Dehradun news readers are not sure which Christians are loyal to our nation among these diverse attitude of the Church leadership in India?

Mrs. Sonia Gandhi did not celebrate her 62nd birthday because of the Mumbai terror attack. I am little concerned about the way Indian Church leaders and Indian Political leaders have neglected other victims and have paid bigger condolences to Mumbai victims. It seems that human life is valued based on their socioeconomic statues. I do not know if that is right or wrong!?

I remember, few years back some church leaders made us “cry” and some advised us to “smile” in that situation. It took time for me and my wife to do what is “right”! We did not smile or kept crying but rather we went for a site seeking drive all the way from Chicago to New York City and celebrated our joy of getting ready to serve the Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, Indian church/political leaders need to know why they do what they do. Christmas celebration or an inauguration of Christmas celebrations would prove just the events of mere entertainment if they are done with even the slightest selfishness.

Friends, this is very urgent for us to understand that our own mind cheats us and our goal of celebrations gets limited to some event achievement and therefore it turns out to be the humanistic benefit for some but the missional achievement that comes from such spontaneous or traditional events turns out to be the most drain or empty.

How true and decent it is when the prophet Isaiah says, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him…” All our celebrations need to be refined and not to be cancelled… because we on our own-goodness will never be able to celebrate anything.

Let us celebrate Christmas and New Year 2009 with full joy! I must quote what Rev. Vijay Minz says in one of his emails,

“We should remember that the First Christmas was celebrated in the midst of all the hopeless situation of slavery, extreme cold weather, lack of adequate space and ….so on….The message of Christmas is not that of sorrow, but of HOPE, that the Savior of the world is come down to restore the broken hearted and even the victims of bomb blast, and to give a new hope (in the midst of all the chaos) to everyone who lost their dear ones.

This implies, we must express our solidarity with people, pray for them, inviting even non-Christians in the Churches to express solidarity with the victims, and at the same time offering hope in Christ Jesus. What better opportunity to do that, but a Christmas. Remember death is indeed a painful and unforgettable reality, but the death of Christ has changed that, by giving a hope of resurrection, hence the Christians can face even the last enemy through Christ.

Let nothing put down our joy. In all our public, ecclesiastical and family celebrations offer heartfelt prayers for our nation. Let us give all due condolences and help to the victims and meaningful esteemed salute to the bereave martyrs of Indian security agencies. Amen.


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