Oh yes! it’s time for celebration. The stars, carols, the decorated Christmas trees and cribs always generates a sense of ecstasy which no other season can match. It appears as if even mother nature is ready to welcome Christmas and also a new beginning in the form of a new year. What better time to pour out my heart into my first blog!
Growing up, me and my cousins used to spend hours gazing at the stars in the clear night skies of December, sharing our dreams, passions and all the crazy adventures that our little minds can speculate. It was our favorite pass time in our ten day Christmas vacation. We would try to imagine how one star in the east guided the shepherds to the cattle shed where the ultimate love has descended. As a generation without Xbox or Nintendo to steal attention, our Christmas days were filled with decorating the tree , preparing the crib and hanging stars. Here I might add that our crib was the closest it could get to the manger of Bethlehem because it looked so crooked and shabby. We were more interested in making it realistic than alluring….we argued. Anyhow, the air was filled with carols and church bells. Nights were cosy and comfortable. We were so innocent and free spirited.
On one such Christmas, while leisurely cycling through the village roads near his house in chalakkudy, my cousin Lijo, who somehow always managed to outwit me, made a philosophical statement, that still reverberates in my consciousness. He said and I quote,” As it is universal love that Jesus represents, he is reborn in the hearts of those filled with unconditional love.Surely that blessed few, eternally enjoy the beautiful season of Christmas.”
The implications of this statement had profound effects in me. I started to think what this nearly mythical story of Jesus’ birth actually meant. The quest for the pragmatic explanations took many years to form. Through the years I came to the understanding that all the stories in the spiritual realm would be meaningless until it becomes personal. We have to relate ourselves to the story and find out which character we really are.
Hence, when I relate myself to the story of Christmas, I find myself resonating with the innkeeper’s character. I believe we need some context here….uhmm…uhmmm..
When Joseph and Mary were on their way to Bethlehem, Mary went on labor. Naturally Joseph and Mary tried to get accommodation in the nearby inn as no specialist gynecology hospitals were available at the time. However, the Inn Keeper turned them away as there was no room in the inn. Eventually Mary had to give birth to baby Jesus in the cattle shed….
The focus here is the innkeeper. He knew a lady in labor with only her husband to accompany her, is a great nuisance. He might be able to help them if he tried, but why do that and disturb all the customers in his inn when he can easily turn these people away, into the dark and snowy night complaining the lack of room in his place, arguably the only inn in the vicinity. Consequently, he never got to be part of that historic event and is never remembered by anyone.
And so it is with me (well not just me, a lot of people around me). To welcome the possibility of Jesus( a metaphor for love) means to come out of the comfort zone and disrupt the smooth flow of life which I am accustomed to. It is like being thrown to the unknown and having to give up the self centered life that I am used to till today. I would rather live the unhappy and discomforting life wondering what the hell is wrong with me than ushering in that possibility of a spiritual journey.
I believe 2017 Christmas is the time to rethink. Rather than shutting ourselves out of love and being hostile, let us usher in the possibility. It is time to transcend those boundaries of religion, politics ,language and all those which separates us. Let us stop arguing and agree to disagree. Let the tides of love disrupt our lonely paths and lead towards selflessness. Let us rejoice at our unity rediscover ourselves and be universal beings.
Times have surely changed, the wheel of time rolled forward boundlessly. Me and my cousin passed our adolescence and reached youth hood. Though we tried hard to keep the childhood charm in Christmas, many things changed forever. Anxious, worrying and doubtful youth replaced the innocent, carefree children. The get together was difficult as I was thrown to the wilderness of Kuwait and my cousin to the dry lands of North India. But those words that he uttered in somewhat mystical tone(probably to scare me) resonates after so many years and proves to be the guiding light in the darkest hours of my life.