Christmas Message from Mor Coorilos Geevarghese
Another Christmas has arrived. Have we lost the real meaning of Christmas in our
insatiable pursuit for consumerist pleasure and happiness? Incarnation, God becoming
human was above all a great act of Jesus identifying with the poor, especially the
victims of human rights violations. Jesus Christ, like millions of men and women
around us, was denied the fundamental rights to food, shelter, and clothing.
Christmas, to me, is the commemoration of the greatest human rights violations that
occurred in history.
Coming from the humblest of economic backgrounds, Joseph and Mary, on their way from
Nazareth to Bethlehem, in all probability would not have had any food with them. No
wonder, then, Jesus, the `bread of life' had to be born in Bethlehem, `the house of
bread'. Thus, the Son of Man identified himself completely with the poor and the
In the severe winter of Palestine, the baby Jesus had no decent cloths to cover
himself with, a sheer denial of the fundamental human right to clothing. Even on the
cross, the Son of Man was half-naked, representing those who are deprived of their
right to clothing.
The God incarnate had no place to be born. He was denied the basic right to shelter.
Jesus, thus, became the prototype of the homeless. St. John sums up his account of
the divine incarnation in just one measured verse:
The Word became flesh and pitched His tent among the people (John 1:14)
Jesus Christ pitched His tent among the tent-dwellers, the homeless people. Jesus
was also a refugee, a migrant who had to flee from his homeland for His life. King
Herod, threatened by the news that a new King of an altogether different persuasion
was born in Bethlehem, plotted to do away with the new born baby. Jesus' life was at
stake even bfore he was born, as his parents could not find a safe place for the
birth to take place. Even after the birth, the threat to his life did not recede, as
King Herod was bent on killing the baby. As King Herod cold not lay his hands
directly on the new born King, he ordered the massacre of all boys under the age of
two in Bethlehem and its neighbourhood. There was no choice for the family except to
flee home and to seek refuge elsewhere in Egypt. To `save' the Saviour, they had to
run away from the oppressor. Thus, Jesus Christ became a refugee, an alien in His
own land, also becoming one with the millions of poor, outcaste and refugees
all over the world.
If this was the true Christmas story, how far are we from the original reality of
Christmas? Can we retrieve the original meaning of the Christmas event by turning to
the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the outcaste and the refugees in our own
I wish you a meaningful Christmas, a Christmas with the poor, and an alcohol-free
Christmas and New Year.
Coorilos Geevarghese Metropolitan