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  Opinion   Oped  24 Dec 2016  Mystic Mantra: God is always with us

Mystic Mantra: God is always with us

Father Dominic Emmanuel, a founder-member of the Parliament of Religions, can be contacted at frdominic@gmail.com
Published : Dec 24, 2016, 5:11 am IST
Updated : Dec 24, 2016, 5:12 am IST

The three words, “God with us”, however, encapsulate the whole meaning of Christmas.

Jesus cross
 Jesus cross

I sometimes wonder what it must mean to be an orphan. I once went through that passing but powerful feeling many years ago when my dad rather suddenly left for his heavenly abode. Seeing the world around me moving about normally, I asked myself, “Do they not bother that I am orphaned?”

One of the many prophesies made in the Old Testament of the Bible about Jesus’ birth that the world celebrates on  December 25 (except the Armenian Orthodox Church which celebrates it on January 6), describes him as Emmanuel. The book of Isaiah says, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Emmanuel.” The gospel of Matthew written hundreds of years later referred to this prophecy saying, “All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will… call him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God with us.’”

 

Interestingly a somewhat similar reference to Jesus’ birth is also found in the 3rd Sura of the Holy Quran, (Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God)”.

The three words, “God with us”, however, encapsulate the whole meaning of Christmas. Understanding and accepting them in our lives can give a totally different twist to our human existence and satisfy a deep hunger within our hearts. Through the birth of Jesus, God makes Himself present and visible to us. Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature. He was God’s words, voice and thoughts made flesh living among human beings. His presence pervades not just the creation but fills each one of us personally. As the Psalmist says, “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance…”

 

The Old Testament prophecies provide different descriptions of Jesus: “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” etc.

In my personal prayer I often address Jesus first as, “my God” and as the moments get deeper I begin to address him as “my friend, brother, saviour, master, healer, companion, beloved”, and so on. This is what “God with us”, means for me. His presence then infuses the rest of my day accompanying me in all my activities, never leaving me alone, or in trouble or letting me feel “orphan”.

In wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, I wish for everyone of us to know, expereince and enjoy the feeling that “God is with us” always.

 

Father Dominic Emmanuel, a founder-member of Parliament of Religion, can be contacted at frdominic@gmail.com

Tags: god, christmas, quran