The Christmas season offers a variety of traditions for different churches like carols, songs, dinners, sending cards, lent, house visits, church services and fellowships. All traditions have a yearly plan for us and we know exactly what to do. So much so that Christ born is a definite event with no surprise and nothing new. People from other religions also join in to celebrate and it is a welcome sign that everyone is looking forward to Christmas every year.
But what if we had the opportunity to gatecrash Christmas this year? But why, one would ask? Let us take a look at two events which are associated with the advent and Christmas. The first one is in St. Luke 1:39-56 when Mary visits Elizabeth when she knows that Elizabeth is expecting a child. It is true that the baby inside Elizabeth leaps with joy but it is not said that Elizabeth was expecting Mary’s visit. Yet the two are so happy with each other’s presence and they express themselves fully in the happiness of the moment.
The second instance is in St. Luke 2:8-20 where we see the shepherds who are told by the angel that the Messiah is born. They have no idea who they are meeting other than what is said to them by the angel. They go and are in the presence of Mary and the baby. They then realise what they have witnessed and glorify God. In this case Mary had no idea who the shepherds were. The shepherds also had no idea who Mary and the baby Jesus were. Yet, they see each other and it goes off well. The gatecrashing moment led to great joy for Elizabeth and Mary and the shepherds and Mary and Jesus. It was not planned by all of them but they went along with it and it led to great and happy things.
Both the stories mentioned lead us to the concept of gatecrashing. Gatecrashing is when we go to a place uninvited. We usually won’t do it as we don’t know what the repercussions will be. And yet anyone who does it will feel so thrilled to do it. It can even sometimes be called unlawful depending on the type of programme. But nevertheless it will give us an emotion of great happiness and thrill, sometimes even better than other programmes that we attend on invitation.
This brings us to some things which we can look at during Christmas. Christmas is not an ‘upon invitation’ event which is open to a select few but it is what is open to anyone and if churches keep it as an “on invitation” event it is likely to be gatecrashed by the needy. This also teaches us that Christmas doesn’t belong only to Christians but to everyone because the salvation of Christ belongs to everyone. So there is no ‘one’ way or ‘the’ way to celebrate Christmas but several ways to celebrate it. Christmas is open because Christ willed it so. The angel informing Mary and then informing the shepherds show a non-traditional way of messaging through which the angel chooses two sets of people who are insignificant to the traditional forms of celebrations in the society of their time. Christmas can be truly celebrated when we gatecrash, inspired by the Holy Spirit and led by angels into visiting houses where the elderly live, where we go places where forget cakes but even a meal is rare, where we go to where children are staring into the sky wondering why Christmas Father does not visit them when other apartment complexes and houses have loud music and celebration.
Such gatecrashing also gives us the courage to do things we would otherwise not do. We simply would not pull ourselves up to do it. But gatecrashing Christmas means opening up the invitation for Christmas for everyone we know and being a part of the lives of others without them knowing before hand. This will make this season one heck of a gatecrash Christmas. We can definitely make it turn out as a time for us to gatecrash a house, a family, a church, or an individual just like Mary did to Elizabeth and just like the shepherds did to Mary and baby Jesus. May the bliss and grace of Christmas be upon us all. Amen.
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