A Christmas Message from Bishop Thomas K Oommen, Moderator of the Church of South India.
I wish each and every one of you a merry Christmas.
“A merry Christmas” – that’s what we wish each other every year. But many of us are finding it difficult to enter into the Christmas spirit this year as the Okhy Cyclone severely affected the coastal areas of South India and robbed the property and the lives of many people. And many of our fellow citizens are in distress and hopeless situation due to economic downturn and the immediate impacts of conflict and recently extreme weather. In the midst of these crises, probably the most appropriate belief about Jesus of Nazareth is that he has come to the rescue in a hopeless situation.
Christ came in the midst of a time when all seemed lost – His coming into the world was marked with the reality of an empire asserting its rule over the nation of Israel, the genocide of innocents and constant uncertainty – but it is exactly during that time of ambiguity that God indeed came in the person of the infant Jesus who became the “Immanuel” – God with us!
God is with us in the midst of crises and that is the hope which Christmas gives. But on this Christmas how do we transmit this hope to the world? In order to share the joy and hope of Christmas each one of us needs to become Immanuel. In other words, by our presence and care one who is in hopelessness should feel the presence of God and they should say “Yes God is with us”.
“And the Word was made flesh and lived among us”. These awesome words will soon echo around the world as the Christmas Gospel is proclaimed in churches everywhere. They announce that the ancient promise to God’s people is fulfilled in a surprising way, when the Eternal Word of God enters into time and becomes Immanuel, God with us. The infinite, invisible, mysterious God becomes known and accessible to us in the life of a human being, Jesus Christ. From the doctrine of the Incarnation we know that the mission of the Church is bringing God’s presence to the world. On this Advent season my prayer and wish is that May the Incarnate God help you to become Immanuel to fill the hope in the world in the midst of crisis.
The Most Revd Thomas K Oommen
Moderator, Church of South India