Fr. TI’s Bio Rev. Fr. Dr. Theophilus Itaman (Fr. TI) is a Catholic Priest of…
We are gladdened and enchanted to be counted among the living and in good health to commemorate the birth of Christ, our Saviour.
The Lord will give you a sign: it is this: the young woman is with a child and will give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14). God never ceases to reveal himself to us so that we might be reconciled to him, even when we more often than not express disobedience and lack of faith in Him. This sin of disobedience led to the dismissal of our first parents from the Garden of Eden, a garden containing so much to eat and live on. God’s love and the reconciliatory goal are evident in his approval of kings to rule, prophets to spiritually guide his people, and judges to settle all forms of discords that surfaced among His people. God’s reconciliatory aim is most evident in the word which took flesh and dwelt among men. When the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the law, to redeem the subjects of the law so that we could receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5). Our sins may attempt to deny us God’s eternal plan for us, but in Christ Jesus, we can be saved. For the wage of sin is death; the gift freely given by God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). Jesus Christ is the summit of God’s revelation.
The canonical gospels of Luke and Matthew both described Jesus as being born in Bethlehem to a virgin mother. In the Luke account, Joseph and Mary travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, and Jesus was born there and laid in a manger. The angel proclaimed him a Saviour for all people, and shepherds came to adore him. Christmas is not all about merrymaking; its main purpose is spreading and sharing love with one another. Love came down at Christmas; Christmas is best enjoyed when it is not centered on decorations, gifts, or festivities but when love is at its core. Love is the essence of Christmas. Christmas should mean spending quality time with your family and friends. Hence Christmas holiday. Christmas “holiday has been known by various names throughout its history: the Anglo Saxons referred to the feast as “midwinter,” the Latins refer to it as nativitas. Christmas is a period we celebrate Christ, the newborn king, on whom our salvation is predicated and in whom redemption is possible. Christmas is an unprecedented and unrepeated event in all history, namely, the invasion of humanity by divinity. It is God becoming a man.
At Christmas, God wants to be born in our hearts. Christ does not reside in a heart purged with evil thoughts and tendencies. This is why advent retreat helps us to prepare our hearts to welcome him. Whenever we say a capital NO to the devil and his agents, by avoiding occasions of sin such as stealing, fornication, greed, and sin of omission, we give a positive response to God’s plan for mankind. We celebrate our faith at Christmas when we are appreciative of the fiat of Mary, the Mother of God. Recognizing the yes response given by her to God’s message through Angel Gabriel is a way of recognizing the first tabernacle Christ ever resided. Mary displayed faith, accepting that the will of the Lord be done in her life. We, too, at Christmas, are expected to joyfully express hope in Christ Jesus, the second person in the Blessed Trinity, the redeemer. It is only when we modestly celebrate Christmas that our story can be like that which is lucid in Titus 3:3-7:
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures, we lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another; but when the kindness and love of God our saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. So that having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Finally, it’s important for us to know the three gifts of Christmas. The first gift is love, God’s love. The second gift is one of life, real life that God promises to those who love him. The third gift is joy expressed in celebration. Joy is a sense of well-being apart from circumstances. Dwelling on these three gifts of Christmas will make your celebration more meaningful and give more purpose to your decorations. What message do you want to convey to those in your household or to those who come to visit you? May God bless your Christmas celebration this year and always.