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Christmas Meditation: ABBA
by: Rev. Fr. Saji.K.Mathew, Melbourne, AustraliaThis 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 stands out is shared herewith: Ask a child, how much does the father values his/her 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
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