Monday, December 28, 2009

Being complete for Christmas???

Kripayal jaatha- guhayilamarnone
Pazhthuniyal-le potheyapettone deva… daya cheythedeeneme

(Verses from the sung liturgy for Christmas in the Syrian Orthodox church; A lose translation would be ‘the one born in the cave, the one wrapped in bands of cloth/ in tatters/ waste cloth, have mercy on us.’)

The pressure to do well, especially in the midst of a recession hit economy is supposed to bring out the best in every individual. So much that we are asked to become close to perfect and in essence complete women and men. The work more, earn more and spend more connection works perfectly in an economy which seeks to drive growth.

The Raymond suiting advertisement picks the concept of completeness and uses it to its advantage with the slogan “Raymond, the complete man.” Men are of course shown what will make the difference for them. A fabric which can turn around things for the better. The complete fabric, with the smooth touch, leading our fingers over it and making us feel something special.

The concept of completeness is also present in various religions and Christianity as well. So much that festival after festival is one which brings out this concept of richness, completeness, fullness and happiness. Christmas being an important date in the calendar of Christians is also on the top of celebrations by the Christian community around the world. In Kerala we compete with each other to decorate our houses and churches, burn fire crackers worth a lot of money and even contribute to the government exchequer by saying cheers.

Obviously one cannot prevent people from expressing their joy at the commemoration of the birth of their saviour. But our saviour Jesus Christ does not fit the description of our celebration. The child was wrapped in waste cloth and born homeless. And yet in this incompleteness is born a saviour unto his people. Who then are we celebrating? Ourselves?, our money and fame?, our happiness caused by the bitterness experienced by the unseen and unheard? The dichotomy is placed between the suit and the waste cloth, the palace and the cave (manger), the rulers and the shepherds. Oh one wrapped in waste cloth, have mercy on us!

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