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Year Zero and Bethlehem Sojourn

James VM, St. Thomas Home for the Aged (St. John of God), Poonamallee, Chennai: 25-Dec-2016 (02:30 AM)


Trekking by the arduous trails (weather beaten)
Crossing the Jordan to avoid Samaritans
Entering the hamlet - Bethlehem
To record the root of their identity.
Authoritarian interventions of Rulers
First-ever recorded by Gospel narrator(s)
The imperial Romans bureaucratic order
Much like our common 20th and 21st century
Census (of Jews).
Unrecorded silence of Jerusalemites
(Callousness or cultural repugnance?)
On peoples head counting.
The census drive has gospel effect
Forlorn couple visiting Bethlehem
Home village? Homely village?
Not homely in our standard; but
Ritual uncleanliness of child-birth
Resulted usual Homeless displacement
And may be unwelcomed situation.
Silent travel of the couple
Commonly visualized in biblical movies
Reels focusing on peopled manger
Child, mother, guardian; and cattle
Logical beginning of Gospel narratives,
Dignified more than religiosities.

The beginning of all Christian narratives

Is NOT birth, but passion and death: of Jesus of Nazareth
This Retrojection
Human-quest to know the background
Of Life (of Christ)
Lived, liked, proclaimed and shared
Pre-placed in gospel-narratives.

The Gospel tidings of happiness

Evoking wonder and luminosities of faith;
Introducing a unknown life to unknown mass
Amidst challenges of faith, existence and adversities.
Situating God in a Human stock
Not affront to mythical religions (of first-century), but
Affront to people of Historical Faith (Israel)
God in human History! Ah!
Needs that Leap of Faith.

For nascent Christians

Acceptance of Paschal Events (Suffering-Death-Resurrection)
Meaningful. Acceptable. Transformative.
Acknowledging that impossibility
Of God who can and suffered (messianicaly)
Leap of Faith was a serious task.
Death of Jesus gave significance
To birth of Jesus.
Jesus Christ is Jesus of Nazareth.
Finding human roots in a messianic life;
Is a breakthrough for Christian Faith.

Narrative redacting
Of Christmas characters
The Nazareth couple, shepherds, angels and magi
v/s ruling subterfuge of Herod and priests;
Wisdomly heroism over wickedness of powerful
Interwoven polarities of actions/reactions
Draws heroic beginnings from messianic end.
Among the Christmas characters
One bears testimony: maiden Mary
Until Calvary and beyond (Pentecost);
Witness to birth and death of Messiah, is
Witness to birth of Church, the Christian community.
That pilgrim - average Jewish woman
Traveling Galilee to Judea and Egypt, On Christmas eve.
Parallel journeys with Christ-child
Traversing Galilee and Judea.
Witnessing silently everything of her Child, her boy.

Faith challenges of her role (as mother - blessed woman)

Rejections at Nazareth and Jerusalem (of her Son)
His strange mission and messages
Self-abnegations and submission to Divine Will
The ONLY witness to Christmas-event:
That Luke and Mathew narrates.

Gospel Narrator(s) records, unexpressed

Silence of the Babe - feeblish and fragile
Proclamation of celestial angels
Behavioral pronouncements by earthly sages
Everything is motherly memoirs
Of Our Gospel Lady Mary of Nazareth, that
Gospel Narrators acknowledges.
Back to Bethlehem,
Every year we return.
Remembering everything,
Primarily Jerusalem;
Secondarily, Bethlehem and Nazareth.
My babe is a Census Child the rural mother muses
With first-century gospel historians.

Challenging regimes of powers and influences;

Through centuries - multitude keeps marching
With Marys tale of Gospels beginning;
Churchs beginning; and
Christianity with history and time.
Christmas vis--vis time: Year Zero
End of savage era (of unfaith and pernicious myths)
Harbinger of divinely humane era
Messianic vision and mission of insurmountable mysteries
Of God of the Universe.

Christmas beginning is
That blank-sheet between: Old and New Promises
The so-called, two-Testaments;
Yet-to-be fulfilled and Already.

That Nazareth/Bethlehem sojourners

Stands placed in Year Zero of Christian Era
Ever and forever;
Musing over One-who-came, with-us and will-come.
Witnessing the Life they handed-on
To Christian world.
The Bethlehem couple marches on
In interpretations, liturgies and human interests
Through centuries and beyond.

Through time
Christmas-event addresses
Hope-filled future
Joyous present and
Grateful past
(Source: Jubilee Plaque at Sacred Heart Seminary,


Christmas Wishes- 2016

& New Year Greetings - 2017