It is that time of the year again. When we welcome joy and good cheer into our homes, when we sing carols, wear our best, cook up feasts, and celebrate with our near and dear ones. It is Christmas time again. I am sure you must have all started to shop for gifts, to pull out the lights and decorations that you had put away last year, and plan to hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. Back home your mothers will have started to soak the fruits that go into her special Christmas cake and you must be awaiting Santa Claus with his reindeer sleigh – perhaps even wonder what Christmas gifts he will leave under your tree this year. 25 December, the day when Jesus Christ was born, is one of the biggest celebrations around the world. Born to Joseph and Mary in a manger in the city of Bethlehem, Christ the Savior was visited by the three wise men of the east, the Magi, who came bearing precious gifts with them. What we must remember, though, is that Christmas is not merely a celebration which involves exchanging gifts and partaking in lavish feasts. It is the infinite love of God and the many wonderful lessons that Jesus taught us that we must reflect upon as we prepare for yet another glorious Christmas night. The lessons of love, kindness, and mercy that Christ had taught us to remain just as relevant over 2000 years after his birth.
- Humility – Christ, the king of all men and their hearts, lived in utter humility. He said that he was the child of God but so are all of us. He lived in utter humility with no pride whatsoever and was born in a manger among the shepherds. Humility is the greatest of lessons that Christmas teaches us.
- Charity – Christmas is certainly the time to exchange gifts. What could be more precious than the bright smiles of our friends and family members as they unwrap the gifts we have bought for them? Festival of Christmas, however, teaches us that the gift of generosity must be extended beyond our inner circle to those less fortunate – it is only in sharing our privileges that we become truly rich.
- Love – Love is a word we all understand. We love our friends, our families, our pets. The love that Christ taught us, though, was a much greater love encompassing all of mankind. Our greatest strength is this love – it is only through this love of humanity at large that we can become the best versions of ourselves.
- Kindness – Kindness to one and all is what Jesus Christ lived by. The poor, the diseases, the underprivileged all came to him and he bestowed his affections and healing on all of them alike. This is perhaps the most beautiful of all the lessons that Christmas teaches us. From kindness comes mercy – one of the most important values to live by in this world.
- Sacrifice – “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us”. It is his deep all-pervading love for us that led Jesus Christ to sacrifice his own life and well-being for us. It is this lesson that we must remember each Christmas. Our families, country, convictions will all demand deep sacrifices from time to time and we must not shy away from making them.
- Perseverance – Despite the constant persecution that he faced from a very young age, Jesus Christ stuck firmly to his path of kindness and love and persisted in teaching his disciples the lessons that he believed in. In a changing world which is becoming more difficult each passing day, Christmas brings with it a great lesson of perseverance.
- Faith – The greatest lesson that Christmas teaches us is that of keeping the faith. Our lives are fraught with challenges and difficult times. Just as the followers of Jesus kept their faith in him and in his resurrection, it often becomes important for us to believe in good times and our own abilities.
The Christmas festival is right around the corner. While we plan to indulge in the bright lights and cheerful festivities of the season, let us not forget these valuable lessons that Christmas brings with it and strive to become better human beings.