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Through the birth of Christ joy has come into the world

By Margaret Ogbebor SSMA  “I bring you good tidings of great joy to all the people, this very day in David’s town your saviour was…

By Margaret Ogbebor SSMA 

I bring you good tidings of great joy to all the people, this very day in David’s town your saviour was born Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11). The joy derived from the birth of Christ is referred to as “True Joy.”. True joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. It includes positive pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to satisfactory. It goes beyond what words of mouth can explain. It is a feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing; true joy is often limitless no matter the circumstances it may face. It remains and stands forever amidst sufferings, difficulties or pains; it is endless. This true joy is what Elizabeth experienced when she heard Mary’s greeting “the child in her womb leapt for joy (Lk 1:39-45). John the Baptist (the child in the womb) was able to recognise and identified it. A joy that knows no bound. It flows from every corner (North, South,  East and West) of the earth. It is a fountain we can run to for help, security, survival and freedom. 

True joy is an experience we enter into in which we are fully aware and conscious of our feelings. Words are not enough to explain it. It is not bought with money because it is obtained from within; it is a gift that is given and is real not fake. Oonyly God has the power to give true joy. Any heart that prepares adequately for the birth of Christ will be connected to this fountain (true joy) because it flows to satisfy our unquestionable desire and thirst. It is the living spring that washes away every pain of sorrow, quenches every thirst and leaves our hearts with happiness that the world cannot give.

Furthermore “The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light, upon those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. (Is 9:1). Here Isaiah is giving us hope and courage, telling us that what we have been waiting for has just arrived: the dawn of a holy day; a glorious light shines in our world. In our world that is divided by fear and greed, Isaiah is giving us a new hope that will keep us going amidst the situations surrounding us. This is the season we have been longing and waiting for. The birth of Christ is God’s divine plan to save us from the darkness of sin and suffering, only those who have really passed through the darkness of pains and suffering can genuinely appreciate the gift of light and freedom. Many a time our challenges, pains, worries and anxiety are referred to darkness because at this time we are weighed down by the yoke of our problems and our eyes and our minds are blind-folded by it, preventing us from seeing beyond our nose. There are many problems in our lives that really need the light of Christ to penetrate them so that we can see clearly and raise our heads high in victory and freedom. The sick, the poor, the unemployed, the prisoners, those who lack shelter, those who are suffering among others are referred to those who are still in the dark. They are in the dark because of their situation and they cannot help themselves. The sick needs the light of Christ to make them whole, the unemployed is waiting for the light of Christ to connect them to where they could get their daily bread and even earn a living; so also the prisoners, the homeless, all those undergoing one form of suffering or another are waiting patiently for the light of Christ to take them to their new Jerusalem (a place of freedom and liberation) where they would be happy and their needs will be met.

Similarly, those who have buried their lives in the pit of sin, people who have lost hope of repentance, people who feel that they are satisfied with their ways of life are in the dark. People who see repentance as an impossibility, people who think that their situation is beyond repair, the light of Christ is capable of penetrating your  darkness no matter how thick it may  be. “The Lord says this now let’s settle the matter. You are stained red with sin, but I will wash you as clean as snow. Although your stains are deep red, you will be as white as wool” (Is 1: 18). The joy of this season (Christmas) is incomparable because this is the beginning of our salvation. The birth of Christ is referred to as “incarnation” which means God the son became man in other to redeem us from our sins and lead us to the light of glory. He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that he should try to become equal with God by force. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like man”. (Phil 2:6-11). Jesus becoming man was for a mission, that is, to deliver us from our old ways of life and give a new life in himself. This is the season we are celebrating.

However, the true joy brought by Christ’s birth is not for a particular set of people; it is for all. No one would say that he is not invited to be part of this joyous moment. Individuals are called to be part of this celebration by preparing themselves personally to receive him. Families are not left out because it is the domestic church that needs to be aware of this unique celebration. It is the duty of the parents to prepare their children for this great bundle of joy that is sent to us by God. God has decided to send us his only begotten son. Parents should not be carried away only by the externalities of the great celebration; they should also take out time to teach their children the importance of this holy season.

The birth of Jesus to our world today is something significant, the baby Jesus lying in the crib is just a “symbol”, but Jesus born in our hearts is the “reality”. The moment we allow Jesus into our lives salvation has come into our hearts. This period is referred to as a moment of transformation, that is moving from one stage to the other. It is a moment whereby we are able to take a step ahead moving forward to begin a new life for the future.  It is period when God has decided to visit his people (the world). A time of remembrance when God sent his only son as the saviour of the world because left to ourselves we can do nothing. Looking at our helplessness, he decided to intervene in the situation of our world by sending us a redeemer that would free us from  every problem. There are many problems in the world today, the problem of kidnapping, banditry, insecurity, killings among others, are found in every nook and cranny of our world. Today, we need the light of Christ to touch us as individuals, as families and even the world at large so that the true joy which he has really brought into our world may radiate as expected.

In Christ our hope and courage are regained. His birth into our world today gives us that rare privilege which exposes us to a bundle of true joy; the joy that the bitterness of this world can not dilute this is what we are celebrating. The decorations will soon be over; travellers will soon be returning to their base, parties will soon come to an end. But the “true joy” which the birth of Christ brings into our lives can never come to an end.   

Sr Margret Ogbebor SSMA is a Catholic Nun, working in the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto. She is the Head Teacher of St Martin de Porres Nursery and Primary School Katsina. [email protected]

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