Post Mortem

Re-imagining, re-creating, re-writing the Christmas narrative

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/23/2020 1:16:42 PM IST

 The entire world for more than 2000years has been celebrating Jesus Christ incarnating on to this earth as a human baby with joy and gaiety. But, Christmas-2020 will be different this time. As we are of the fact that coronavirus has totally changed and challenged the usual patterns and formats of Christmas celebrations and put on hold many things. Every country is concerned about protecting the lives of its people. Stringent rules are invoked to restrict the movement of people, worshippers and revellers coming together in the name of celebrations. Carols, festive gatherings and worship services have been drastically be cut-down. By now, Xmas celebration mood should have started, but the world at large is on suspended animation.

Christmas reminds us that God the Divine taking the form of human form of Jesus entering into the world of humans. This is indeed ground breaking and undoubtedly unprecedented. Therefore, Christmas offers us some thing new every year. It reminds us that God is in absolute control of the world we live-in and more particularly of our lives. To a question: what God is doing in a world of global pandemic? A simple answer is God is involved in healing the world totally devastated by deadly pandemic. So, Christmas-2020 does mean God in Jesus Christ coming into the world is to humanize the world corroded with human-constructed divides. 

Never in human history had an invisible virus ravaged the entire world for about a year causing ramifying effects at the familial, communal and societal levels. It has brought everything to grinding halt and even now after developing vaccine leaders and others are perplexed how to contain the virus. In such horrific setting, Christmas-2020 is to be celebrated, and so, Christmas narrative, will have to be different that offers new meaning and hope to the world which is increasingly being immersed in despair, not knowing where to go and who to approach. 

The people across the world are passing through difficult times undergoing pain and suffering, and in such a context, Christmas-2020 means we are reborn, reshaped and renewed. We are alive not being buckled by the deadly coronavirus, but boldly facing and fighting. What is it that makes us to go on in life? It is sheer grace of God. Yes, we live by grace alone which is costly and priceless. We are being made worthy as channels and vessels as we keep receiving from God the infinite grace for which God in Jesus Christ paid a heavy price.

The experiences that we went through—could be in differing in terms of magnitudes and gradations, but certainly altered the purpose and meaning of life and shaped our notion of life and living. Life matters, because it is sacred and precious. Who is the Source and Sustainer of life?  During coronavirus millions of people lost their lives and many continue to suffer and in the midst of a horrifying pandemic we live? How and why we are spared—questions that loom at large. 

Unlike the previous ones, Christmas-2020 will be unique and different, because it has drastically changed the format of celebrations and other routines. Experiences of going through the traumatic period of about a year facing numerous challenges and being alive obviously sheds newer insights that propels us to re-imagine, re-create and re-write the Christmas narrative afresh. In a world of total darkness and gloom, where many across the world have lost their near and dear ones, refrain to go to church, celebrate and shake-hands offering season’s greetings. Christmas carols hardly hit our door steps nowadays.

Traditions that have been developed around Christmas such as the advent candles, the feeling of anticipation, of welcoming a great event—the birth of Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God with us should be interpreted to the context that we live. This is the Season, wherein we should look around. For instance, coronavirus has snapped the continuance of education of hundreds and thousands of poor girls and boys. Since many do not have the financial backing to pay their tuition fee; buy technology apps and other requisites stopped attending on-line class. And so, most of them have taken up informal jobs. No one knows what would be their future. 

There are such stories where people lost their lives, livelihood and suffer in sub-zero climatic conditions. In such a scenario, how could Christmas be merry? Christmas-2020 narrative needs to be re-written. Christmas-2020 will bring to us the realization that we cannot shut our ears and eyes to the reality around us. We cannot just drive past and pretend that all these poor, hurting people are not there. Emmanuel-God be with us when we strive towards bringing hope to others, especially those who have been affected, displaced and side-lined due to coronavirus.  

Christmas-2020 is supposed to rekindle our collective spirit, where we don’t just ‘celebrate’ amongst ourselves. A celebration or the meaning of Christmas narrative would become authentic when everybody is included showing love and compassion in varied ways particularly to those who have been gravely affected by coronavirus. God becoming human in and through Jesus and if this is the essence of Christmas narrative, God in Jesus is involved in humanization process where millions needs the human touch, empathy, compassion, love and wholistic healing. God in Jesus is involved in healing the wounded and fractured world.

So, Christmas-2020 narrative should blend the humanization and openness to the apparent reality that warrants our humility, gratitude and gratefulness to God who became incarnate as a human in the Person of Jesus.  As Nachempfundener describes, “When we .... approach each other and stand by one another, are honest and avoid empty phrases, wait patiently and listen with sympathy, protect the fine and strengthen the weak, share sadness and rejoice over the success of others, view obstacles as opportunities and try to develop new ideas, are loving companions and thank warmly, give support instead of holding on, allow freedom and encourage people to go their own life’s path,.… then it will be Christmas.”

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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