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Strike a balance between the spiritual and material

Strike a balance between the spiritual and material

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From: The SVG Christian Council
“THE WORD BECAME FLESH; HE LIVED AMONG US.” (Jn. 1:14)

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

At Christmas, we celebrate the Incarnation of the Word of God in the human nature of Jesus. The infant Jesus is thus central to our Christmas celebration. God becomes one of us and experiences our human emotions, frailties, and challenges. The Incarnation reveals to us that Jesus is fully God and fully human. It is precisely through the Incarnation that God brings about the salvation of the human race.

In this moving Christmas story, God chose to be born as a defenceless baby putting himself in the care of human beings. This historic event reminds us that God chose to be born into the milieu of our lives; rather than remaining aloof and outside of our reality. He pitched his tent and dwelt amongst us as one of us. This radical embracing of our human nature and identity should be a source of contemplation and consolation for us. The Christmas narrative ought to remind us of Jesus’ humble birth in a manger in the town of Bethlehem. The conditions of Jesus’ birth speak to us about his presence on the periphery and his loving care for those who exist on the margins of society.

Paradoxically, our preparations for Christmas can easily blind or distract us from the significance of the birth of the child Jesus. Our overemphasis on the material and external preparations leads to consumerism which hinders a profound contemplation and appreciation of the Incarnation. The Advent Season with its corresponding scriptural readings, hymns, symbols and images is the time for our reflection and preparation for the coming of Jesus. Advent invites us to a sober preparation that strikes a balance between the spiritual and material, the internal and external. These dualities complement each other to bring about a harmonious and integral relationship with God, ourselves and our neighbour.

That the Word became flesh and lived amongst us brings about a renewed consciousness that recognises the presence of the living God in each other and creation. Through the Incarnation, we can acknowledge the dignity of each human person and all creation made in God’s image and likeness. Respect for each other and nature is integral to our discipleship. Also, this implies a personal and collective responsibility as a people and Nation.

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