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Pay attention to the needy this season

By Elias Mokua | December 25th 2019 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Commentary
Amidst the Christmas celebration, there lies a deep message that God did not choose a dynasty to give us a child who will become our leader to eternal

The birth of Jesus, which we celebrate on Christmas Day every year, has many learning dimensions.

The one that stands out for me is why God would subject a very poor family to bear such a heavy responsibility of becoming the bridge between God and humankind.

Joseph and Mary were ‘hustlers’, to use Kenyan parlance. At the hour of need, there was no Pumwani Maternity for the expectant lady to receive the maternity support she needed. In the dead hour of the night, in a cowshed, Mary gave us a child whose name is exalted above all.

Amidst the Christmas celebration, there lies a deep message that God did not choose a dynasty to give us a child who will become our leader to eternal life.

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Not that God is against dynasties. After all, in the Old Testament, God gave mankind several great leaders like David.

But man and woman are creatures that glory in putting God to test. For this reason, in the New Testament God comes down and lives amongst us as one of us right from birth. He is therefore truly human and truly God.

What strikes me most this time is the fact that God must have wondered: how do I bring back my children who are going astray as their ancestors did?

So he chose Joseph and Mary to renew the whole salvation history to redeem humanity from straying to gloom and doom.

That a King of Kings will be born in a cowshed, be placed in a manger, suffer the cold of the night to parents who could not offer more tender care to their newborn baby tells us that God does not look at the status of a person, but the dignity of every person.

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In scripture

God brings us that great message that he knows each one of us by name, and can, therefore, choose to use any one of us as a bridge to salvation.

The second lesson is that God anoints leaders for a specific mission. However, I must hasten to say that not every leader has been anointed. We have very many leaders in power who manipulate and corrupt everyone.

Even if such persons take an oath of office in the name of God, surely, they should not justify themselves that they have been anointed.

Remember in the temptation of Jesus in the desert, the devil showed how knowledgeable he was in scripture.

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The birth of Jesus in a manger marks the beginning of a long journey of learning from the parents (Joseph and Mary), from elders (the Temple priests) and from everyone else (preaching, healing, consoling, hitting at hypocrites).

God’s salvific plan for humanity is one of tenderness, love, patience, and single-mission in bringing the straying flock back to the fold.

Same origin

Third, the question God asks us during Christmas is this: how do you want to live? God provides us what we need to live the way we discern.

Obviously, God permits us to do whatever we choose but is also always reminding us that he came in flesh, lived among us and continues to live among us so we make the right decisions to love and support each other since we all have the same origin in Him. How we want to live is a basic yet fundamental existential question.

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Christmas is a symbolic celebration that invites us to pay attention to people around us who are in need.

It is most likely that many people who had booked the Inn (accommodation was full) would have probably surrendered their rooms for Mary and Joseph given the condition of the couple.

Since we are a very individualistic society, we mind about our rights, in the process creating a culture where no one would think of ‘disturbing us’ for a higher good – an expectant lady needed the room more than those of us who had booked.

Yes, the booked people had a right to their accommodation so even those in emergency situations could not be prioritised since they hadn’t booked.

They closed themselves in the warmth of their rooms when a woman in labour pain finally gave birth in a cow shed right next to their rooms. In a society that cares, someone would have noticed the condition of Mary and offered to knock at the door of anyone of those in the rooms.

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Christmas, beyond the celebration, means paying attention to those around us who are most in need.

Dr Mokua is a lecturer in media and communication studies.


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