Summary: A Christmas Reflection.
The Pandemic Christmas and New Possibilities
Dear sisters and brothers,
On this Christmas Day, we have a text from the Gospel according to Saint John (John 1:1-14) for our reflection:
“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.”
Let us start our reflection with a real incident.
“Merlin, get me some tea.”
That is Merlin’s husband Kevin, who lost his job due to COVID-19 lockdown.
He succumbed to COVID-19 himself soon after he lost his job.
It was a double bombing in a poverty-stricken family.
He suffers now with post-COVID treatment.
Merlin is fearful.
There are many questions in her mind: what will happen to Kevin?
What will happen to her family in future?
What will the future of her only child?
With all these questions and without any clear-cut answers, she takes up a job as a maid to support her small family since Kevin lost his job and he is under post-COVID-19 recovery.
She looks around.
Her neighbours are busy in preparation for Christmas, such grand decorations, with such expensive dress materials, smiles on their faces.
At the same time, she remembers her own family with minimum, struggling to live with two times food in a day.
She knows that she should not compare the neighbours with her family.
The baby Jesus comes for all.
Yet she cannot help but wonder if all that expense is really necessary to welcome him to our hearts and in our houses.
She knows that He comes for the saint and the sinner alike, for the rich as well as the poor yet in her moments of despair added with the pandemic and job loss, she sometimes begins to doubt His existence.
Christmas has always been the most joyous occasion in her poverty-stricken life - before her marriage and even after her marriage.
The cleaning and white-washing of the house, the making of the few sweets and the visitors they receive are occasions to express love and sharing.
It is nice to have someone over, it also makes the entire family happy to talk to someone else for a change and not just wallow in their despair.
It is the season when she knowingly tries to be extra patient with Kevin and more forgiving.
The Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ changed the world.
She feels extremely happy looking at His serene face on the Cross and in the manger.
The look on the faces of His parents is loving and serene even after their struggle for a place and birth in the dirtiest place in the house, the Manger.
His birth radiates the special message for her and for her poor family during the pandemic.
She easily identifies with His birth that is stable sans royal trappings, sans magnificent ceremonies.
It was a people’s birth, a birth for the other.
It also is the birth of love, goodness and giving.
This birth of Jesus Christ in a manger loudly proclaims that the poor matter, the homeless matter, the migrants matter, the struggles of women matter, the struggle of people matter to each one of us.