Christmas & the Pandemic :a time to build family, promote solidarity & work towards the salvation of all
Bishop Gabriel Malzaire's Christmas Message
Christmas is for us both a point of convergence and a point of departure. Christmas is a point of convergence because of the magnetic personality of the Christ-child. Everyone want to be part of the Christmas-Event. Yet Christmas is a point of departure because it commissions us to live the message that emanated from the Bethlehem manger: to love one another as God has loved us in his Son, Jesus. This annual festivity represents the manner in which our God chose to save humanity. It is essentially the Incarnation of the Word of God in human flesh. But how does this become real in our context? What message has the Christ-event for us in this time of pandemic?
Using the present Covid-19 Pandemic as an analogy, one could say that, like sin, for which the Christmas-Event is the principal remedy, Covid's origin has to do with human irresponsibility. However, now that Covid is with us, like sin itself, we cannot be like Adam who sought to blame Eve. Neither should we be like Eve who in turn blamed the serpent in the story of the Fall. Our model is Christ. Christ who was sinless accepted our flawed nature to come among us even as a child. From his humble Bethlehem manger emanates everything positive: the joy of family; the solidarity of community; the hope of salvation.
If such disposition could serve as an impetus to fight against the scourge of Covid-19, we could certainly work our way to a real and global solution. Therefore, we need to make the sacrifices required by observing the protocols established by the State. It is certainly not a time to play the blame game. Rather it is a time for collective responsibility towards a redeeming end, which in simple language mean, a total eradication of this terrible disease. We thank God for the scientific advances made so far in developing the vaccines.
We must however be mindful that Christmas is a time to build family, to promote solidarity and to work towards the salvation for all. As we go to worship the Christ-Child we must depart from the Christmas Crib with this positive disposition. Despite the necessity to keep our social and physical distance, the poor and needy, the elderly, the sick and shut-ins, are not to be forgotten. More than ever before they are in need of the good cheer that goes with the season. We are to develop alternative means of reaching out to them.
In the meantime, let us strengthen each other through our prayers to include the leaders of our society, both civil and religious, our civil servants and educators, the judiciary and law enforcement agents, the farmers and fisher folks, etc., so that their continued contribution to the well-being of our society will reflect the true object of the joy of the birth of our Lord.
Merry Christmas to all and a prosperous 2021!