Monday, 17 January, 2022

The good news of the birth of Jesus Christ (Part-1)

  • Reverend Martin Adhikary
  • 14 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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The good news of the birth of Jesus Christ (Part-1)

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Christianity is not a religion in the popular sense of the word ‘Religion’. It is also not a philosophical system. But it is God’s call to mankind in and through Christ to live in right relationship with God and all his creation. Christmas is back one more time with its eternal message of God’s reconciliation with his creation through Christ. We rejoice at Christmas in God’s greatest gift to us given in his Son. Christmas also reminds us of our call to healing and renewal in our lives. This is possible with the power of the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinitarian Godhead. God is one. But he revealed Himself in three distinct ways. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In three ways he relates to creation, in human history, culture and experience, because he is not God of the philosophers only.  The Trinity is a mystery, which cannot be explained enough, but is accepted only in faith. At Christmas, we see God, the Father coming to the world in human form as the Son through the mediation of the Holy Spirit. God’s relationship with his creation is three-dimensional. His Trinitarian existence reveals that he is a loving parent, as the Son he was born in the material world to express that divine love into action dwelling with mankind, and as the Holy Spirit he is the enabler for us to lead a holy life to be lived in harmonious relationship with God, with others and with nature.

The hard reality is that people do not live in right relationship. The result is that there is no justice and as such no peace. Might and cunningness appears to be the rule in almost all human societies. The powerful deprives the weak and the helpless ones of their human rights.

In Bangladesh now we have been experiencing this as the minority communities (mainly the Hindus in some areas in the country) and different ethnic minorities (right now the Santals) as they have been subjected to riotous situation by the majority Bengali communities. The suffering communities have been rendered helpless by the perpetrators of such horrific crimes against those communities through arson, looting and even murders. Their basic human rights have been violated blatantly.  All concerned need to be serious in dealing with the situation and bring justice and hope to the suffering people.

Another very hard reality in Bangladesh has been the violation of the human rights of women and children. Horrendous crimes are being committed almost every day in every place in this area. Our Constitution provides for the protection of the genuine rights of women in several articles, and there are multiple legislations for the same. But the main issue at stake is the proper implementation of the same. Rule of law, good governance, corruption-free handling of issues ensuring justice and punishment of concerned criminals can ensure a woman-friendly society.

At Christmas time we meditate on the selfless and holy love of God for the purpose of saving mankind from the bondage of sin and all its seminal consequences. Spirit-God took human flesh so that he might manifest his love to man supremely. God is Spirit. In the beginning when the earth was formless and void the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. St John’s Gospel (Chapter 4) records Jesus telling the Samaritan woman that God is Spirit and those that worship him must worship in spirit and truth. Both the Hebrew and the Greek words for the word ‘Spirit’ (Hebrew ‘Ruach’, Greek ‘Pneuma’) also mean ‘Wind’. Without wind and water no life is possible. Both wind and water are also seen as symbols for spirit in the Bible. God chose Virgin Mary to give birth to Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was baptised by the Holy Spirit. He stood all temptations of Satan in his Spiritual power. The same worked all miracles including his resurrection.

All God's prophets and the heroes of faith named in the Bible were people of spiritual power and insight. All miracles that the disciples and apostles did were possible only because of this divine power. The Church was born with the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost the gift of the Holy Spirit is a common wealth in the New Testament time in which we live. The age of the New Testament is ideally the age of the Spirit. In the Old Testament God gave particular people to do particular works of miracles in a particular situation to testify to God's intervention in human affairs. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced that the Holy Spirit would come upon and overshadow her and she would bear a child. In all the praises in the Magnificat (Luke 1:47-55), the Nunc Dimitis (Luke 1:68-79), and the Benedictus (Luke 2:28-32) Mary, Zechariah and Simeon praised God in the power of the Spirit for sending His son to the world for the redemption of man from the bondage of sin and all its consequences. Mary’s song is a condemnation of all the dehumanising forces of tyranny and oppression that negates life and its values. She was soon to give birth to the redeemer of the world from all kinds of bondage and slavery. We can discern the importance of the power and the guidance of the holy Spirit in the so-called Mission Statement of Jesus as recorded at Luke 4:18-19: “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour (Jubilee)”.


The writer is a Christian Theology teacher and a Church leader