St. Luke 2:6-7
The birth of Jesus is important not for cakes, decorations and celebrations but to be assured that humans are created in the image of God and will therefore live life loving and helping all that God has created. This is God saying that God has created human beings to reflect God’s self on earth. The birth of Jesus is indeed a happy event because it reminds and inspires us to do good even when everyone and everything around us does not. It is not to follow the world but to follow the voice and will of God.
The birth in unusual circumstances shows that the people of God cannot be limited to buildings and walls but should extend everywhere and anywhere because that is the real birth of Christ. The interpretation of no place being there in the inn is a reflection that God lives with the most ordinary of ordinary. Most of the things we have built on earth are an aberration of God's creation. It takes us away from the real birth of Christ. The church by moving into comfortable environs to celebrate the birth of Christ suggests our moving in to comfortable inns while the baby is denied a place inside the inn! The image of God is absent in such acts of celebration of the birth of Jesus. We do not have an affluent baby Jesus because a baby cannot be affluent by herself/himself.
The church has become too affluent for Jesus but all is not lost for the church and the people of the church. One can get rid of the affluence and try and make the birth of Jesus meaningful for everyone. Fr. Shibu K.Y., a Jacobite Christian priest donated one kidney to a Muslim woman Kairunnissa yesterday. By doing that he has challenged the affluent church to shed its affluence. Many were disturbed and uncomfortable with his decision and even suggested it was wrong to give away what God has given us to live a comfortable life. The argument that we need two kidneys because that is what God has given does not go along though with the fact that God was meant to be in heaven but chooses earth, was meant to be in the inn but ended up outside it and did not have to be crucified but was anyway. God gave up so that humans and the world would have and that is the birth of Jesus.
|Fr. Shibu K.Y.|
Fr. Shibu and Kairunnissa are offering us the opportunity to understand the birth narrative. We have gone far away from the born Jesus. This is an opportunity to come back to the narrative of what the birth of Jesus means. It is God loving and giving us. God need not but God does because that is what God is. The love of God encompasses everything we know. Fr. Shibu by giving and Kairunnissa by suffering and now receiving show us that Christ is born in them. We are getting an invitation to pray with them during Christmas. Of course we are not used to what they have done and so their spiritual invitation will also be difficult to accept and do. Never the less they have woken us up from institutional and individual slumber and we must thank them for that. From my facebook contacts I have also learned that Prof. Sakhi John is doing the same for Shaju Paul and they are following several others who have preceded them. Such individuals are challenging the church and the people in church to live Christmas or the birth of Jesus. The liturgy of their merciful church is not known to us and we haven’t heard the songs they are using. But there is a language of love that they are using and this is something all of us can follow if we take the effort to do so.
|Prof. Sakhi John|
St. Luke 2: 6-7 tells us that Mary and baby Jesus do not get space in the inn (‘in’). It is also that space in the inn is mostly not available to everyone as the inn has become institutional. It represents all churches which are not welcoming and loving. But Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus do not give up. They make the ‘out’ their home and that then becomes the place which the shepherds and the elders come to and see Jesus. Fr. Shibu and Kairunnissa and Prof. Sakhi and Shaju Paul among many others have not got a place in the inn (‘in’). But they did not give up and made the ‘out’ their inn. We can now join like the shepherds and see the birth that has happened. May the star lead us and the angels rejoice.