Christmas amid Chaos?

Winter has well and truly arrived. The evening and morning temperatures have dipped to 14.3 Celsius. Burr…it’s cold. That is, subjectively speaking. While Tokyo and Washington DC would have celebrated the blossoming of cherry blossoms in all their hues over Thanksgiving, our winter blooms in potted plants now display their beauty and riot of colours. We are told that climate change is the reason for the delay in the ‘Season’. We should have had these floras fill our hearts with joy in November. There is a paradigm shift.

What paradigm shift is that?

The answer is, perhaps, staring us in the face. Why are we unable to see it? I am not a YouTuber. Nor am I fond of those individual news reporters who have moved away from the ‘godi-media’ to use YouTube as their platform to disseminate their views, assessments and perspectives about events shaping India. Nevertheless, we must grow the discipline to hear these Youtuber folks and the ‘godi-media’. Listening to them talk about the ‘invaders and colonizers’ who have brought war to people isn’t amusing. A god-free society displays its unbridled humanity. Or is it inhumanity that has dehumanized and demonized us?

“He who is informed is also warned”!

However, I am an avid listener to the Word – the Bible – that speaks in that small, still voice. Sadly, though, we are quick to speak and lazy to listen. Worse, we are not very discerning in what we hear, decipher, interpret, apply, and respond. In fact, it is often noticed that our responses are emotionally influenced and supported by our warped mindset. We want to do (and justify) what we want to do. Admittedly these wield power that makes us insensitive, biased, cold, indifferent, subjective, and negative. Yes, one wishes that these could make us objective and critically analytical. Alas…!

That said, unfortunately, such behaviour and mindset exists across every international border, too. As a direct consequence of this mentality and attitude, we are forced to live in a world that is relationally in chaos and irrationally arrogant. All attempts to bring about mutual respect, acceptance, harmony instead of cacophony, forgiveness, and reconciliation instead of hate and violence appear to be a very distant dream. In a metaphor, it is like a mirage in a desert of hopelessness. As such, it seems to reinforce the notion that we choose to stew in our current state of brokenness and rejection instead of honestly seeking help to be pulled out of the cauldron in which we are being stewed.

Not all is lost. Thank God!

There is good news. A remedy is made available. It is a remedy that fixes the broken and shattered people, communities, nations and even our destroyed environment. It heals and restores. It provides assurance and belonging, all built on the strength of that prayer, “Forgive us as we have been forgiven…” (Lk 11:4). Its core value and ethos drive it into action. That action has purpose, acceptance, and worth building as its goal. All because it is God-centric. And God loves repentant people! (Jon 3:10; 4:10-11).

Where and Who provides such a therapeutic treatment?

Here is the News – the Good News, if you please.
It is back to the Bible. The Bible reintroduces us to meet the eternal Specialist – The one and only – our Creator, revealed as an infant born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. His name is Immanuel, viz., God with us!

“Good News of Great Joy” – 2023 AD:

Christmas 2023 returns once more with the message, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Lk 2:10) Dr Luke, Physician and author of ‘The Gospel according to St Luke’, narrates to Governor Theophilus the event that took place at night – at an hour when the night is at its darkest and sleep at its deepest.

The shepherds, as they did each night, having grazed their sheep through the day, had gathered their flock into their pen. The pen itself offered some protection for the flock from the ravenous wolves. Yet the experienced shepherds knew that the pen had to be watched through the night, especially between 1 am and 4 am when the wild beasts, by instinct, knew the most vulnerable hour to prey on their prey – the hour just before dawn. Surprisingly, more than the visits of the wolves, the sudden visit of “an angel of the Lord” would have shocked the shepherds guarding the pen. Such an unexpected visit would have certainly sent shock waves down one’s spine. Even the bravest among the brave would have trembled.

Please allow me to quote what Dr Luke wrote to Governor Theophilus. “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child. (Lk 2:15-17).

A vital element of Luke’s narrative is his construct of information. It is a researched and verified narrative for a well-informed, highly intelligent friend who is also a powerful ruler. That throws out all impressions pertaining to arguments for the story being mythological or a hallucination. Truth sweeps away all arguments built on presumptuous propositions.

Dr Luke says that after their extraordinary experience, the shepherd’s conversation, and physical verification of that which was announced to them, repudiate all arguments to support the theory built for hallucinations and dreams. Another element in Luke’s narrative is that as the day broke and people poured into the streets, the shepherds told everyone in the village of their amazing, extraordinary discovery and perhaps reminded the people who, for centuries, had been waiting for the long-awaited prophecy to be fulfilled. [Lk 2:17-18].

As for the actual content of the message, it amazes us that the shepherds should receive communication that said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord. [Lk 2:10-11]. As the angel leaves after delivering the message, an angelic choir joins him, singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests,” two facts/truths emerge.

Two truths/facts:

1. Were the shepherds’ fear solely driven by the sudden appearance of one angel and then being joined by many more? Such an experience and response would be both – legitimate and logical. There was nothing extraordinary, then, to hear the angel assure them that he and his companions were not sent to hurt them. Rather, they were the privileged few to receive very direct information – the good news. And the good news of the birth of the ‘Prince of Peace’ and Saviour wasn’t to be exclusively for them (Jews in general) alone but was Global [universal] in scope – “for all people”.

2. Could it also be that shepherds’ fear was more than a situational fear? We ordinary folks live with a variety of fears. Who doesn’t fear tyrannical leaders and rulers? The ruthlessness of the Romans and their government was an established fact and well-known. The economy was in bad shape, too. Besides high taxes and corrupt officials (Lk 19:1-10), manipulative religious vendors and the cost of living, took more from them and the people than their due. The social reality at the time was the existence of bandits and marauding raiders who raided and happily marched away with what wasn’t theirs in the first place (Lk 10:30-36).

So, yes, this was good news in more ways than one – for the shepherds, the city of Bethlehem, Israel as ‘a people’ and ‘all the people’, making it global in scope.
Again this Christmas announces this GOODNEWS again!

Good news according to the Men of East:

The ‘King of the Jews’, to quote the Wise Men, whose star they had seen in their own countries, was born to liberate people from sin and its consequences – the eternal consequence of separation from God our Father. [The gifts presented to Baby Jesus speak to us with profound meaning]. Immanuel was born among us – a reality. For the Jews, the much-expected and waited-for Messiah was among them. God had heard their social, political and religious abuse and acted, again, just as He had done when their ancestors were slaves in Egypt. The difference this time was that God Himself had come down among them, born as a baby in the lineage of King David. He had not sent another team of Moses and Aaron. And in that personal coming, John the disciple said, “as many as received Him, He gave the power to become children (sons and daughters) of God”. (Jh 1:12-14).

Christmas is all about – Immanuel (to quote Isaiah’s prophesy – Isa 7:14) – God with us. Christmas has returned, announcing its message once more, saying Jesus Christ is the only hope and healer of shattered dreams. He specializes in mending broken lives and relationships. He offers acceptance for the rejects of the world, living in hopelessness and doubting their worth. In fact, His standing offer is, (Matt 11:28). He says that we may have life, a life that is abundant for today, tomorrow and eternity ahead (Jh 10:10b).

May the blessings of the Christ of Christmas be yours this Christmas and the New Year, 2024!

Hansraj Jain, a widower, is a UBS graduate and CEO of Inheritors, a ministry focused on Family and Human relationships. His son Prakash, a Liver Transplant Surgeon, daughter is a business woman and owner of Tiger-way Coffee. They live in Nagpur, Maharashtra, you can reach him at

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