and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… John 1:14
(This Christmas Message prepared by Fr. Mario Masangcay, CSsR – Filipino Redemptorist Missionary in Korea, will be shared by Gwangju Archbishop Hygino Kim during Christmas Day Mass with all the migrant workers and residents in Gwangju City, South Korea.)
For the secular consumerist world today, Christmas celebration is all about shopping, year-end bonus, parties, holiday break and others. But for our whole Christian world, it has a deeper meaning, because Christmas is our celebration of our Lord’s birth into our lives. For us who believe in Jesus Christ, Christmas is God’s incarnation – “the Word made flesh, and dwelt amongst us”. It is about God’s child and our Lord Jesus.
Through the birth of Jesus, God visits our world and decided to stay with us, and we welcome Him into our lives. Pope Francis said: ‘For us Christmas has always been about this: Contemplating the visit of God to his people”. Christmas then is all about God as our guest, visiting us and we, as His hosts welcoming Him into our lives. Thus, Christmas is our joyful celebration of meeting God into our world, through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here we come to know and proclaim our God as a Migrant God, who came into our lives and decides now to live with us. Jesus, the beloved Son of God, who is not of our world but now in our world, resides in us & becomes part of our lives. While our world today considers immigration as a social issue, problem and concern, Christmas is our reminder to the world today that through migration God came and visits us, and lives with us now, as a Migrant God. What then we may considered as problem could be and may have been God’s saving way of meeting us, sharing us His grace and redemption.
Also we come to know and proclaim here that our God is a missionary God. The Lord Jesus visits our lives for a mission. He is with us and in our world today on-mission and at-work. He came to share the world God’s love, introduce us God’s kingdom, and invites us to join him in spreading God’s grace to the whole world. Jesus thus migrated into our lives on mission, purpose and work to share us our Father’s love and way. While our world today is becoming godless & unknowing of God, Christmas reminds us that God is always in our midst and at work in our lives.
This is how meaningful and blessed Christmas is, for us followers of Christ: our migrant and missionary God is always with us and at work in us, and thus we now share in God’s life. Again Pope Francis proclaims: “Christmas reveals the immense love of God for humanity. From that flows also the enthusiasm, the hope of us, Christians, that in our poverty, we know that we are loved, we are visited and accompanied by God.” Christmas – the birthday of Christ, God’s visitation, our meeting with God, welcoming our migrant and missionary God in our lives, marks the beginning and gives way to our story and history of our salvation.
Our Christmas celebration this year somehow invites and challenges us to contemplate the presence and mission/work of migrants in our midst. Somehow migrants residing and working with us now in our lives remind us of the meaning and blessing of Christmas in our lives and into the world. Being here abroad as Christian, we are invited to welcome and be welcoming to host our guest Jesus Christ and our migrants with us into our daily lives. As the Lord decides to reside and be part of our human lives, we should also make our Lord and other migrants part of our world. Being Catholic Christian in Korea, it is also our mission to share Jesus and His mission in proclaiming and spreading God’s love and work to today’s secular world. In other words, as followers of Christ here and now, like our Lord Jesus, let us be witnesses and living-testaments of our Migrant and missionary God in sharing God’s sacred life and mission of salvation to our world today.
Through Christmas, God has already and always blessed us and the world. May we Christians become now a continuous God’s blessings to our world today. Amen.