Sunday, January 29, 2023

Christmas 2022: unto us a child is born

Christmas the most important annual event in the Christian calendar is being celebrated by Christians and others across the world. The birth of Jesus Christ explicitly conjoins a message with a series of names and titles – Wonderful Councilor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, as we celebrate Jesus coming to us for the year 2022. The themes and narratives keep changing all the time as we commemorate Christ’s coming into the world of humans continues to shift all the time. This shift takes place all the time. Accordingly, the meaning and essence of Christmas should also change thus adding new meaning to us. This is how Christ’s event continues to offer ground-breaking messages and opening up appropriate narratives to the humans in the last twenty centuries.
Centuries ago, the birth of Jesus was foretold by prophet Isaiah. What was foretold by prophet Isaiah came to fruition in the coming of Jesus Christ into this world. Isaiah 9: 6-7 expounds that “For a child has been born for us, a sin given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is name Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace, for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forever more. The zel of the lord of hosts will do this.”
Isaiah’s description of the coming of Jesus Christ has been studded with titles of par excellence – Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Farther and Prince of Peace. All these covers a number of facets such as physical, psychological (mental), societal, and religious-cultural enjoining the Humanity and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Out of a few superlative titles extended to Jesus Christ, “Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace seem to be the most appropriate that holds relevancy to the present climate that the world we are in. In recent times across countries new waves of problems and crimes have surfaced. As science and technology advances we are bound to face pros and cons as we handle different apps and platforms.
Scientific innovations and technological advancements offers a number of choices to the users. At the same time abuse of apps and its contents would lead to ramifying effects. For instance, young minor students between the age of 6 and 18 die committing suicides. The current farcical situation hides a deeper reality – too many of us are spending too much time online.
Billions of young millennials are getting addicted to social media and googling. The trend nowadays could perhaps be called ‘digital maximalism’ wherein those who are addicted to social media are glued to their favorite on-line platforms for hours. In addition, parental, examination and peer-group pressure add to the increase of suicide rates amongst teen-agers.
More importantly, the world in which we live is increasingly becoming highly competitive. In a competitive world more and more high-level of skills and professionalism are needed. Since the demand is growing at appalling levels those who have skills get into top and middle rung employment brackets are appropriated. It clearly shows that there are ‘few winners’ and ‘many losers’. ‘Win-win’ scenario hardly exists. Therefore, world is moving towards the Darwin theory of the ‘survival of the fittest’ Cut-throat and ruthless competition looms at large and those who are fit to take on the competition eventually wins.
Our world is driven by money. Those who control capital decide what to produce, how to produce and who to distribute. A tiny percent control a vast of people. Many wonder whether we live in law of the jungle, where only a tiniest percent of predators control and appropriate all the resources leaving a small portion for the majority.
Everyone wants to reach the top and so participate in the rat race, but few succeed. In such a world those who don’t win or fails to succeed in their dreams end their lives by committing suicides. Nowadays youngsters live in stress and anxious moment. Majority of the millennials need to take care of their mind.
Amongst many others Jesus is being addressed as Wonderful Councilor indicates inexplicable, indomitable that surpasses human progress and achievements. The wonderful Councilor who can advise, council and judge with depth of wisdom and knowledge. Jesus is the source and fountain of wisdom ably guided by the Holy Spirit. He alone can save, guide, help us and though His wisdom and know-how deliver us when we are vexed and awed with the challenges, we face every day.
In the Scriptures especially in the Gospel we find commands, ethical values and moral principles that teaches us the dos and don’ts. Jesus in his works and witness candidly passed on several messages what is good and what are the things we need avoid and overcome. We are once again reminded to going back to Christian Scriptures.
Attached to it another title to Jesus add is Prince of peace which is also equally important in a world of fragmentation filled with hatred, prejudice, exploitation, injustices and all sort of polarization. In such dire straits, a term that enjoins others is the Prince of peace The root word for peace in Hebrew is Shalom which means Wholeness that encompasses all facets of life.
It is certainly not just the ‘inner peace’, but all that include the milieu we will live Therefore, for Shalom in order to become a fuller and wholesome, the concept of justice is a pre-requisite. And so, without justice Shalom/peace loses its all-encompassing value.
As we commemorate Christmas – 2022 Jesus Christ coming to us will have to bring to us Shalom in all its entirety.
Hence, in a world of stress, anxiety, physical and mental ailments and sickness, internal and external attacks and power craze we have entered into a season that offers us the greatest expectation in anticipation that rings and echoes across the world that “Unto Us a Child is Born – The Wonderful councilor and Prince of Peace”.
Let Christ’s event and Christmas narrative continues to illumine us and shed light as we navigate in difficult terrains offering mental stability and wholistic peace (Shalom).
Dr. John Mohan Razu

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