Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Meditation: ABBA

This is just a reflection, being shared with my fellow brethren, of my
nativity lent meditations. Through these days of nativity lent I was
juggling with the answers for a question: Why did Jesus squeeze himself
into the womb of Mother Mary to take birth as a baby? Couldn't He
just appear in the world as a grown up figure and execute His Works?

As mentioned above, out of the several answers that sprouted in my mind,
the one which outstands is shared herewith:

Ask a child, how much does the father values in its life? Well,
obviously the answer would reflect the kind of relationship the child
has with its father. C.S Lewis tells of a school boy who was asked about
his opinion of God. The boy replied that, as far as he could make out,
God was the sort of person who is always snooping around to see if
anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it (see Kassian &
McCleskey 2005). This distorted perception was discovered to be based on
the boy's bitter experiences in life with his earthly father.

I reckon Jesus descended as a child (and as Son of God) to reveal the
true nature of a Father. The idea of fatherhood was central to the
teachings of Jesus. For instance, the Father sent Jesus to secure
redemption for mankind (Jn 3:16-17; 17:3); the Father highly exalted his
Son (Phil 2:9; Heb.5:7-10); Jesus appointed as heir to all things by his
Father (Heb.1:2); Jesus is the rightful heir to everything that belongs
to his Father (Jn 16:15); and everything that Jesus has comes from His
father (Jn.17:7, 22, 24).

Any sensitive person can feel the pain of a father when his son bids
good bye and chooses an independent path, away from the father
(Lk.15:11-32). Concomitantly, the same emotion touches much deeper in
our hearts when the father takes pain to rush to his son, still on his
way to his father's place, in the same story. This humbleness of the
father would have had prompted the son to walk an extra mile (Mt.5.41),
so that he could double his father's asset of love by expanding its
scope (see Mt.25:14f).

Therefore, earthly fathers are expected to be the reflection of heavenly
Father as well as inspiration to their children so that they advance
towards eternal Father. Gospel of Jesus is in fact an untiring effort to
bring mankind closer to the Heavenly Father (Henry 2008).

Our church is blessed with a treasure of many earthly fathers, some
alive and some resting. Pampady thirumeni stands out among those as an
icon who was constantly on the lookout to impart fatherly affection,
considering all as His children (see Pampady thirumeni's biography).
This author is blessed to testify with gratitude the fatherly affection
enjoyed from H.G. Geevarghese Mar Dioscorous of blessed memory. A
charisma, whose door was always open; always inviting, never turning
down; ever willing to lend a hand to his children, my spiritual father
never tried to flee from challenges but loved steering through it, for
he knew his responsibility (for children) very well.

As a devotee puts it, because of dad, it has been an easy transition to
grasp the concept of having a personal relationship with a heavenly
Father. For me Father means someone who cares about me, listens to me,
protects me, and wants to spend time with me∑. I have been given a
glimpse of these things on an intimate level already through my earthly
father. How much more wonderful to experience these things in its full
potential through getting to know my perfect heavenly Father (Kirsten
quoted in Kassian and McCleskey 2005).

I specially thank God Almighty that I have my biological and spiritual
father, inspiring and pulling me towards God the Father, as they did
when they were in flesh. They never tried to ignore me but always had a
heart of compassion; they always tried to pull me towards light, never
tried to push further into darkness; they had a spirit of accommodation
and I have never seen anyone being isolated by them; and above all, they
never had to google for excuses but always had solutions upfront.
(please read Rom 8:15-16).

To conclude, I realise that Jesus' descension in the form of a baby
was to bridge the gap created by earthly fathers and children. His
enactment calls each one of us to be an ideal father figure for others
who desperately needs the care, warmth and love. (Please note-
`father' is not used here as a masculine figure but encompasses
both genders).


Fr. Saji. K. Mathew
Melbourne, Australia

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