Where shall We go for Christmas 2020

December 19, 2020

Christmas is a season of joy, happiness, frolic and fun. We visualize different plans, besides, spot different places for Christmas merriment. Some wish to go home, others for holidays, a few love to while away roaming around Malls, some visit friends, still others to amusing places. No doubt, all these are excellent abodes to savor Christmas festivity. As this Year is severely affected by the untold havocs of the Pandemic and its side effects, where shall we then go for Christmas 2020. I propose that we go to Bethlehem. Certainly it will not be a flight journey to Holy Land, but a spiritual pilgrimage. Four reasons, I consider prompt us to go to this holy city.

Bethlehem is a Home of Nourishment. The word "Bethlehem" is from the Hebrew word bet-lehem, which literally means "house of bread." Bread constitutes nourishment; it is the very life that sustains and gives health. Nourishment is so essential for any living being. Very truly, Christmas season is a season of eating; a season which proposes varieties of gastronomical entertainment. To all appearances, we live in a world where food market is the most flourishing commercial activity. The mélange represented by food culture is overflowing. However food in its excessive form could make humans a prey to gluttony and over indulgence. Sinking in the culture of haute cuisine can be an inroad for an epicurean living thus making food a substitute for God. Bethlehem is a place where we are fed with food which lasts forever. In Bethlehem, Jesus is nourishment. Jesus has made it clear at various occasions. I am the bread of life. Unlike nourishments which perish, Jesus’ nourishment is eternal, everlasting and immortal. Bethlehem, the house of bread is an invitation to nourish humanity with the bread of hospitality, of companionship, of becoming human and humane.

Bethlehem is a Temple of Enlightenment. The three Wise Men from the East came to Bethlehem narrates the gospel of Mathew 2:1. Now they are called as wise men. Men filled with divine wisdom who were able to see the Star and read the signs of the times. And these men realized there is immense wisdom in Bethlehem in the child born in a Manger. They recognize in this babe the real and true wisdom. Wise men according to the book of Proverbs are people who have a spiritual discernment of what is right and wrong. They are careful to not unnecessarily offend with their words. And they weather the storms of life with a steady faith. Wisdom spoken here is the Wisdom of life; wisdom not limited to this world, wisdom which would go beyond the rational competences of humans; wisdom which you cannot gain in any of the human internets and libraries. This wisdom was available in Bethlehem. Today we do have knowledge centres, impressive libraries, internet resources, online lectures and seminars. Knowledge is available at the fraction of seconds. But we cannot ignore that true wisdom comes from the mouth of the babe, born in a Manger in Bethlehem; wisdom of truth, wisdom of character, wisdom of obedience and humility.

Bethlehem is a Sanctuary of Peace. In the Bible, peace means not only freedom from all trouble; it means enjoyment of all good. Yes enjoyment of all good is seen at Bethlehem. Because in Bethlehem there is silence, no noise, no external spectacles. The baby is born in a Manger far removed from the hustles and bustles of life. Today we need peace. There is so much of noise. All are busy; the cell phone rings constantly, the messages pop up every second. We are forced to answer all the phone calls instantly. There is no time to meet, chat, relax and certainly to pray. But Bethlehem is tranquillity, it is silence, it is place of peace.

Bethlehem is the Palace of Bliss. Bethlehem was the city of King David. Hence it is a royal city. However with Jesus born in this city, He has given a new look to the kingly and royal regard. Jesus is another sort of King. Here we meet a king without power and might, money, prosperity, military potency. This king is a babe covered with swaddling clothes. But behind these swaddling clothes we see love, service, truth, happiness, forgiveness. As the world is clamouring for power, position and pomp the King of Bethlehem is calling for simplicity, humility, meekness, the pearls of human contentment and joy.

Let us go to Bethlehem for this Christmas, for we will meet the baby born in a Manger. We will be refreshed, rekindled, relaxed and relieved. With jubilant hearts we sing: “O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep. The silent stars go by. Yet in the dark street shineth, the everlasting Light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

 

 

 

 

By Fr Dr Joseph Martis
Fr Dr Joseph Martis is the former rector of St Joseph's Seminary. Currently, he is the professor and HoD of Philosophy Department.
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Comment on this article

  • Sr Lillis, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 27 2020

    Dear Fr Joseph Martis
    You are a mystic. Thank you for your invitation to go to Bethlehem . The profound reflection of yours on Bethlehem invite us to experience Jesus as one who nourishes our yearing heart and to enjoy the peace , bliss and enlightenment that Jesus alone gives. Very consoling message during this pandemic time.
    Congratulations for sharing your profound wisdom .

  • EULALIA DSOUZA, MANGALURU

    Wed, Dec 23 2020

    Well written dear Fr. Joseph Martis. Only an Intellectual, Philosopher and wise thinker can pen down such an article with such great depth of Belief. Thank you for enlightening our faith and Christmas mood as well.
    Let us all hope and continue to pray that Covid 19 disappears soonest that we return to normalcy at the earliest. You take care of yourself, stay Safe and Stay Blessed always.

  • Christine, Mangalore

    Wed, Dec 23 2020

    Hi Fr. Martis,
    Congratulations for the deep, reflective and thought provoking article. very apt for the context.
    Where shall we go for Christmas 2020? Please come to Bethany! You sure can go to Bethlehem via Bethany the house Jesus visited often.

  • C.G.Sequeira, Valencia, Mangalore

    Tue, Dec 22 2020

    It's a philosophical, beautifully written article on Christmas. Thank you Fr.Joseph!

  • Fredrick Fernandes, Boston USA

    Mon, Dec 21 2020

    Best written article from one of the greatest Theologians of our time, Rev. Dr. Joseph Martis. Thanks a lot for such inspiring words as we celebrate the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Have a Blessed Christmas and Happy and Healthy New Year .

  • Ambrose Pereira, Bajpe

    Mon, Dec 21 2020

    We do not have to go anywhere.

    Jesus is already come and is with us every moment of our life. We just have to follow Him:

    You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. . . John 13:13-17

    So please don't go anywhere, just do as he did for us. Look for the poorest around us; there are many, poor spiritually, poor in health and poverty. Share a little with all the needy. Because Jesus gave us all.

    You would be surprised what you can give

    And share this giving with your kids so they learn the joy of giving like Jesus taught us. Children appreciate this very much. I saw this with my daughter. On her First Holy Communion she had a choice "Do you want to have a big event or would you like to donate it all to an orphanage and share your joy with the poor".

    She readily agreed to the second option and on that day we just had a small family lunch and in the evening , we visited the orphanage and gave the entire amount set aside for her Holy Communion to the Orphanage. And today, she gives spiritually and in kind much more than what we taught on her First Holy Communion day.

    That is where Bethlehem is and this is where you will find Jesus if you really are searching Jesus.

    When giving, remember what Jesus commanded us in "Sermon on the Mount":
    “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:3–4).

    Merry Christmas to you all Daijiworld readers

  • FR FELIX MONTEIRO, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 21 2020

    My dear Guru and inspiration Rev. Fr Joseph Martis, Where shall We go for Christmas 2020? the tittle itself is inspiring to read. The article is very educative and at the same time down to earth. At this Pandemic time your article gives hope and inspiration to allow Jesus to take birth in our hearts. Thank you Fr Martis. May this article inspire all the the DAIJI readers.

    Wish you in advance a merry Christmas Fr Martis.

  • Alban Rodrigues, Canada/ Pangla

    Mon, Dec 21 2020

    Fr Dr Martis you are a proud shining star of Pangla. Now I remember seeing you growing up in Pangla with something special and uniqueness in you. God bless you and go even higher to shine far and wide.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to you dear father with good health, prosperity and peace.

  • Hencil Martis, Pangla

    Sun, Dec 20 2020

    Excellent 👌. Merry Christmas 🎄☃️

  • John, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 20 2020

    Jesus on His Birth and His Mission, following is the part of the message about Him, taken from the Book of Truth (Dan 10:21), also available online.

    "My Birth was planned by My Father out of His Great Mercy and His extraordinary Love for His children. His greatest sacrifice was to send His only Son, begotten of Him, into an ungrateful world, full of sinners, who did not want to know Him on His Terms. Every Intervention, through the prophets, was made to try to turn their hardened hearts to seek out His Glory. But they turned against Him and killed the prophets, who fed them with the Food for their souls.

    By sending an innocent child, His only Son, into the world, He placed Himself as a lowly servant of human flesh, before those who were meant to serve their Master. The Master, therefore, became the Servant in what was the greatest form of Humility. Yet, He so loved His children, He was prepared to do anything to win them back from the deceit and temptation of Satan...

    Ref:

    https://fatherofloveandmercy.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/all-during-my-childhood-i-knew-who-i-was/

  • John, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 20 2020

    But, There was no place for The Savior in Bethlehem at the time of His Birth!! Following is the part of the message about it from Mother Mary, taken from the Book of Truth (mentioned in the Bible -Dan 10:21), also available online.
    ...
    "When my time approached, every obstacle, planted by the spirit of evil, was placed before us, every step we took. Doors were slammed in our faces; people we knew shunned us and we were cast out into the wilderness. And so we ended up without a roof over our heads and in a shelter fit only for animals, while the Holy Messiah came into the world as a pauper. There were no ceremonies, no coronation, no acknowledgements. There were only a few people left to comfort me in my loneliness. But then, when my Son was born, all feelings of anxiety left me. All I felt was a love of the most Divine Presence. Peace finally reigned in my Heart..."

    Ref:
    https://fatherofloveandmercy.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/mother-of-salvation-we-first-went-to-judea-and-then-my-son-was-taken-to-india-persia-egypt-greece-and-england/

  • Jevita, Mangalore

    Sun, Dec 20 2020

    Dear Father
    Thank you for the wonderful article and enlightening us that Jesus is the source of all goodness, on whom we can rely on..
    Merry Christmas 🎄

  • Vincent Gomes, Buntwal / Bangalore

    Sun, Dec 20 2020

    Excellent article 👋 Reminds us of the true spirit of Christmas.
    Wishing you all the joy and happiness that this season brings forth.
    Merry Christmas Rev. Fr. Dr. Martis
    Best wishes from Vincent Gomes & family

  • H.A.Dsouza, Damoh

    Sat, Dec 19 2020

    Thank you Rev. Fr. for this beautiful article. Son of God came in to this World to establish God's Kingdom. When we accept him in our hearts we become children of God.What a previlage of becoming children of God and getting abandant blessings! On this occasion let us Thanks him for comming this World to save us and giving us true peace and blessings so that we can lead a peaceful life and helping others with his great love.
    Jesus is the highly influenced and talked person in the history. No any person talked like him. His followers are roll models because he called his followers as light and Salt of the earth.
    Thy kingdom come
    Praise the Lord

  • John, Mangalore

    Sat, Dec 19 2020

    Very insightful article on Christmas and Bethlehem. Also,

    God The Father on personal holiness and 'decorate' your house of holiness with deeper and deeper virtue in a message to Maureen dated December 13, 2020

    Public

    Once again, I (Maureen) see a Great Flame that I have come to know as the Heart of God the Father. He says: "Children, everyone's 'house' of personal holiness sometimes has temptation knocking at the door. The grace is always present to recognize this unwanted visitor. Sometimes, the owner of the house unwisely allows temptation in through thought, word or deed. The soul must be careful whom or what he associates with. If the soul is trying to advance in personal holiness, he will readily recognize the unwanted guest and usher him out. The soul must be very wise as to whom he allows into his house as sometimes the unwanted guest comes disguised in goodness."

    "Make your house of holiness like a fortress of virtue. This is the way to advance quickly through sacrifice and prayer and to 'decorate' your house of holiness with deeper and deeper virtue. The deeper the soul is in virtue, the stronger his efforts to protect his house of personal holiness."

    Read James 1:12+

    Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.

    Ref:
    https://www.holylove.org/messages/

  • Rohan, Mangalore

    Sat, Dec 19 2020

    Dear Fr.,
    Very nice article to keep up the spirit of Christmas in a meaningful way. What you have explained is the right way of understanding the messiah. I can try to improve at least n one of the good things each Christmas now on. Thank you for giving us this inspiration.

  • Joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Sat, Dec 19 2020

    My dear Father Joseph - Yes. It is a pertinent question. Where shall we go for Christmas? I feel that instead of our going to find INFANT JESUS we should invite HIM and find a place for him in our hearts.

    You perhaps know that I will be ninety- nine years old in a few days. I am advised not to go to crowded places. Therefore I will not be able to attend Christmas Mass. The only alternative for me is to inviteINFANT JESUS to come to my humble abode.

    I take this opportunity to wish you A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS in advance. May The Babe from Bethlehem bless you and me abundantly. I crave your blessings too

  • Arputhem Lourdusamy, mangalore

    Sat, Dec 19 2020

    The term 'Bethlehem ' is comprehensively analysed by Rev. Dr Martis. It gives a new interpretation to this Christmas at this pandemic. C
    The writer reflects the thought process of the Holy Father, the Pope, that religion and religious practices must emanate from within and should be expressed in our actions. This writing is for meditation. Thank you, Fr


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