Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Christmas Special
Volume 7 No. 452 December 22, 2017
Foreword: Jesus The Light Arrives
Foreword - Issue 452 (Christmas Special)

One of the scene in the Holy Qurbano that gives me Goosebumps is the time when just before the Public Celebration, and opening the chancel, we sing together,

Velivu niranjo reesho nin velival kanunnu .. (We see with your illumination or light, O God, who is the light)

This is when the scene in the liturgy switches from the Old Testament to the New Testament and we celebrate the birth of Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem.

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." When you are led by the light, you wont be in darkness. You will be illuminated by the source of light. It is Jesus who provides the light; we simply reflects it.

It is a great mystery. But if you carefully examine the nativity pictures, we will see either the single star that directed the Magi to Bethlehem illuminating the scene or the light emanating from Jesus Christ. No other sources of light is in the Nativity scenes.

Take a look at the  scene below. It is a painting by Gari Melchers.

Nativity by Gary Melchers

It is dark in the cave. Some light comes through the door. But look at the baby Jesus. He is shining. His light is reflected on Joseph and a tired Mary.

The photo below depicts the adoration of shepherds. Notice that here Baby Jesus is quite bright. Again, no instruments of light is present.

"The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people which sat in darkness saw great Light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death Light is sprung up."
Matthew 4:15, 16.

People who sat in the darkness saw the light. It was dark because the people of Israel had no hope left. They were captured and tortured. It so quiet for nearly 400 years, that they lost any hope for Messiah. The darkness also symbolize the sins of the people.

Under these conditions a light comes to wash off their sins. Darkness cannot survive when light shines. Look at the face of the shepherds in the picture below. They are happy at finally a savior has come to liberate them.

adoration by the shepherds

I personally like the Gary's art. It is quite unique and realistic based on what we read in the bible. Joseph and Mary were very poor and could not afford the luxurious clothes or living quarters. And Mary was alone when she delivered the baby.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explained the meaning and importance of Christmas as follows:

Jesus Christ is God in the form of man. The eternal appears in time. The Eternal Word, by Whom all things in the world were made, is now rejected by the world He made: "There was no room in the inn." The Bird Who built the nest of the universe is hatched therein: He Who made His mother, is born of His Mother. All the nations of the earth are made of one blood, and now the Son of God partakes and assumes that blood as the new Head of Humanity.

At Bethlehem, heaven and earth meet: God and Man look each other in the face. A Mother for the first time in the universe, as she holds the babe in her arms, now looks "down" to heaven. Because nothing greater than this will ever happen in the world, the peace of the world is conditioned upon that great act being repeated, in a reduced measure, in each of us.

As God took upon Himself a human nature through the free consent of a woman, so too He asks us, through our free consent to give Him our nature, as Mary gave Him one. Then Christ begins to rule our mind: then we put on the mind of Christ, the love of Christ, the Spirit of Christ. Not many are willing to do this. "He came unto His own and His own received Him not." That is why there are Christmas cards with sleighs and fat men.

But there will always be some who will see and understand the meaning, and to all who received Him "He gave them the power to become the sons of God." We cannot have the word Christmas without Christ: so neither can we be Merry on the inside without Him."

Isn't that great writing. I love the writings of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. He is a master in making theology simple to comprehend.

This issue of Malankara World Journal is bigger than normal. After all it is Christmas.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We certainly appreciate your support.

Dr. Jacob Mathew
Chief Editor, Malankara World


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