Skip to main content

Christmas is sharing with poor, excluded, victims of 'unjust' CAA, NCR, NPR

Placard says, "This year Santa won't come to India, he doesn't have documents"
By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
Christmas is a seven-point star. The seven-point star which guides, directs and protects! In Christianity, seven has from time immemorial been regarded as a perfect number. The seven-pointed star also represents the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and delight in the Lord. Very significantly the seven points of the Christmas Star all begin with the letter ‘S’; they are:
Christmas is a Song: the one of the angels! The words are unequivocal, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to all men and women of goodwill!” The song is inclusive. The lyrics, the melody can and needs to be sung by all and at all times. It transcends narrowness and pettiness; xenophobia and jingoism; divisiveness and discrimination!
The song needs to be lived and communicated to others, if we are serious about Christmas. Peace is a vibrant, dynamic one which has to be lived in the small and simple realities of our daily lives.
Christmas is Shepherds: Simple, unlettered, marginalized folk; their expertise was in tending sheep. Their life was difficult: with long nights spent in the open, biting cold. Their sheep were precious: each one had a name and they knew them by name; they smelt of the sheep. When one was lost they went in search of that one, until found.
When they were given the “good news” of the birth of the Saviour they leave their sheep behind (their attachments) and ran in haste to worship him, their priorities are very clear: they had to be the first witnesses to the herald of the angels! The shepherds are representatives of the poor and the marginalised, the exploited and the excluded of today.
Christmas is a Search: the ‘Anawim’ -- a broken people, waiting in patience and hope, searching for the Messiah; someone who would liberate them from their suffering, from the shackles of bondage. The relentless search of a people for truth, light and a new tomorrow! The search by Mary and Joseph for a place to stay the night, knocking on doors, only to be told that “there is no place in the inn”. The search by the Shepherds and the Magi for the Saviour. The search by refugees Joseph and Mary, for safety and security as they flee into Egypt!
Christmas is a Stable: A powerful image and reminder of the meaning of the birth of the Saviour; total simplicity and abject poverty; the smell of the animals, the squalour of the stable is the warm, welcoming home for the king of kings. It is a place far out of the city, in the peripheries, away from the comfort zones, the materiality, the wealth, the pomp and the neon lights!
The stable has no decorations, no tinsels or baubles; none of cosmetics or sham which we have made of Christmas today! Sadly the stable also reminds us of the ‘detention camps’ which have begun mushrooming in India today where those who are rendered stateless by draconian, discriminatory policies of today!
A students' protest in Mumbai on December 24
Christmas is Silence: “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright Round yon Virgin, Mother, Mother and Child, Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace!" Ever since it was first composed and sung in a small town of Austria on Christmas night 1818, it is the all-time favorite carol.
It is reflective of the ‘profound silence’ that permeates the earth when Jesus is born! A silence pregnant with meaning: peace, joy and hope. Christmas today is relegated to ‘merriment’: from wishing others “merry” Christmas to noisy celebrations and crass commercialization! Rediscovering the silence of Christmas is essential today!
Christmas is Sharing: God our loving Father sharing himself with us by giving us his only begotten son. The shepherds bring for the child the best from the little they have. The little drummer boy plays his drum for the new-born king; the only thing he could bring as a gift.
The magi brought gold, frankincense and myrrh; but, in order to save the child from the wrath of Herod, they would have advised Joseph to flee, gifting him with some of their camels to do so!
Christmas is sharing ourselves with the poor, the excluded, the victims of an unjust and inhuman society; those who are victims of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR); those who will not be able to pay us back or for that matter say “thank you” to us!
Christmas is the Saviour: The long point of the seven-pointed star. The centripetal and centrifugal force of the festival. There is no Christmas without the Saviour: we celebrate his birth on Christmas day; we celebrate the opportunity we have for eternal happiness.
Sadly, the Christmas season in some places is referred to as ‘Holiday Season’; what gains prominence is Santa Claus and the Christmas tree. The world relegates the essence of the day to materialism. We are caught up in this web: we need to put Christ our Saviour -- back into Christmas!
Yes, Christmas is a Seven-point Star: A song, the shepherds, the search, the stable, the silence, the sharing and the Saviour. A star which guides the magi, in their relentless pursuit of truth. These were men who studied the ancient manuscripts. They were no pushovers; they knew their stuff.
But sometimes their arrogance and self-confidence did them in and they lose sight of the star. In their helplessness they even go to Herod, who recognizes their worth; in his own cunning way, he tries to convince them to return to give him the news. The seven –point star is actually a lodestar that guides them to take a different path; to stand against the Herods of today; against the power of all evil!
As we enter Christmas let us hitch ourselves to this seven-point star, so that we can truly celebrate the beauty and significance of the day and live the essence of Christmas every day of our lives!
---
*Human rights and peace activist, prolific writer and poet. Contact: cedricprakash@ gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

'Allow critical thinking': SAARC-sponsored varsity teachers support protesting students

By Our Representative
Teachers of the high-profile South Asian University (SAU), a New Delhi-based international institute sponsored by eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have supported “peacefully protesting students and other citizens” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.