Christmas to People of Goodwill

Jijo Kandamkulathy, CMF

Claretian Publications, Macau

Mt 1:1-25


Merry Christmas!

The refrain of Christmas is “Glory to God in the highest and peace to people of goodwill.” May the mantle of peace cover every situation that creates anxiety and worries to humanity.

Christmas imprints in me an image, almost irrationally, of the birth of love. Has humanity not loved before? Of course, we have loved, we still love. However, I suspect at the bottom of all acts of human love lies self-love. Even when I love others, I might have fallen in love with myself loving others. Somehow human love falls short of the purest love. Pure love is God. It is God who incarnates on Christmas, the birth of pure love.

The most captivating item of the nativity scene for me has always been the star. In spite of its stupidity, I love to retain my childhood fantasy of the star as a hurricane lamp stretched by the heavenly Father to keep vigil for the new-born Baby, the pure love. To keep vigil for pure love is an invitation that every Christmas star extends to us. Love is very fragile in families, in societies and between religions or countries. Unless we commit to keep vigil for love, it could be shadowed and covered up.

What often amazes us is the adventure God takes in delivering his Son to fragile human nature, which would bruise and even attempt to extinguish it. But the same love resurrects and loves the same humanity. The mystery of Divine Love baffles. I let it baffle me to remain enchanted by it for a lifetime.

The Christmas message is universal. Peace to people of goodwill because a Savior is born for them. The absence of peace—the anxiety of humanity—has so touched the divine realms, so as to deliver the Son of God, the Prince of peace, as a remedy. The angel introduces him as the Savior. A savior is required when one is unable to get out of a situation or possibility of death. As humanity, fallen into irredeemable chaos, was awaiting a savior, Christmas happens to give hope. The Savior is Emmanuel. He lives with us, in us. He remains in humanity through people who care for others.

Christmas is also a very personal story of the holy family, which had its dreams. Dreams are hopes. We all weave dreams, at least unconsciously. The narrative of these dreams is what fires up our hopes for tomorrow. When Mary said a “yes” to the angel, it altered her world, her dreams, and the dreams of the little family she was hoping to raise. It also shattered the dreams of Joseph. Dreams at night are mostly connected to the preoccupations of the mind during the day. Joseph had decided to divorce Mary secretly when he went to sleep that night. When his dreams were shattered, God gave him another dream. On divine advice, he changed his decision.

The new dream offers him a divine possibility to protect this mother and child that he was not responsible for. The divine possibilities begin when one decides to take care of life, to take care of others one is not responsible for. When Joseph decided to do that, it became Christmas.

Joseph was in doubt. The new dream cleared his doubt. When we are in doubt, it is always good to make a decision that accommodates the care of the largest number of people involved. Most decisions taken to care for only one’s own are likely to be lost opportunities when Christ could have been born.

Christmas is the name for every decision one makes to care for those whom one is not responsible for by ordinary human standards. Christ is born in the hearts of people of goodwill. Christmas happens in every act of goodwill, irrespective of the seasons. May you have Christmas in all seasons….