We are undergoing an unprecedented time in history due to Covid-19 Pandemic. The joyous season of Christmas, which brings people together, is overshadowed by lock-down, social distancing and travel restrictions. The social, economic and religious impact of the pandemic is beyond description. Pope Francis writes in Fratelli Tutti: “The storm has exposed our vulnerability and uncovered those false and superfluous certainties around which we constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities…Amidst this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about appearances, has fallen away, revealing once more the ineluctable and blessed awareness that we are part of one another, that we are brothers and sisters” (FT 32).
Perhaps this crisis will bring us back to the true meaning of Christmas by strengthening our faith and hope in our Saviour rather than spending the feast in frivolous celebrations. It is a time of grace, in which we spiritually renew ourselves and deepen our faith. It will help us to think as Pope Francis tells, “no longer in terms of “them” and “those”, but of “us” (FT 35). The crisis is an opportunity for greater solidarity among nations as well as individuals. Just as Jesus emptied himself to become one of us, we need to empty our narrow ideologies, pretty interests and egoist tendencies to foster one another. The story of the incarnation is a story of kenosis; it is a story intrinsically interwoven with the story of passion, death and the resurrection of Christ.
The birth of Christ gives hope and removes fear and despair from us. The Christmas narrative in the Gospel tells us, "Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11-12). Jesus is “Emmanuel”, God with us (Mt. 1: 23). He is with us even amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic. He is inviting us to deepen our trust in him that we may overcome this ordeal and renew ourselves and the world that surrounds us. May Child Jesus protect and bless humanity!