Christmas 2006 "Birthday of Jesus Christ" By Bishop Ijaz Inayat Masih

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Celebrating birthdays is an established ritual all over the world with cake, clothes, bounties, invitations, gifts along with sharing and showing love at the basis of it.
However, I hereby raise a question to all the Christians of the world. What gift/present would you give to Jesus at this Christmas while celebrating His birthday?
The reason of raising this question is the observation all over these years that the world seems to be pre-occupied with their own shopping list that they find little or no time to consider the person and mission of Jesus Christ.
Almost at every Christmas we eat the cake in new clothes exchanging gifts and cards while there seems to be no gift for Jesus.

CHRISTMAS IS JOY AND PEACE TO THE WORLD
How can this be possible without understanding the mission of Jesus not only at Christmas but all through the lives? The angels sang the heavenly carol at the birth of Jesus "Peace to men on earth on whom his favor rests thus becoming an instrument of giving glory to God in the highest".
Looking at today`s world we do not find peace either in personal lives or at the level of our society everywhere in the east and the west among the people of all religions.
Careful analysis of history of religions and mankind reveals that the religious leaders have failed in understanding and implementing the message of Jesus Christ resulting in nasty events like the crusades and lack of tolerance for neighbors. Even today the element of commercialism seems dominant among the religious leadership all over the world. We do not say that there are no genuine believers among them but the over all picture demands more from the institutional leadership for the service of humanity. They forgot that Jesus asked his followers to be crucified personally on the cross meaning to kill the lust and selfishness in order to become a new creature.
Jesus said love thy neighbor as thyself, turning of the other cheek and going an extra mile. Where as the Christian west and religious leadership used the growing strength of Christian religion as tool for economic and power politics. Thus they failed mankind and the mission of Jesus embarrassing humanity.
A similar sort of situation is seen among believers of other religions. Islam is also claimed to be a religion of peace by its believers and scholars. The same misinterpretation has been applied by some of those who used slogans of serving Islam by killing others including their own Muslim brethren. All this is happening in the so-called modern, educated, civilized society.
This is abuse of the positions weather religious or political in the name of God tearing the basic fabric of humanity.
The need of peace was never greater in the world as is now which brings to a point of thinking as to what is my role in developing a tolerant society. As we start thinking we need to remind ourselves that the basic objective of these two great religions is to please God in order to qualify for our personal seat in heaven in the presence of God at the end of our lives. All this depends strictly on "loving thy neighbor as thyself" and "Haquq-ul-abad" which is common among both the religions.
To his followers Jesus said "a tree is known by its fruit" which demands that we look deep into the inner chamber of our conscious and be honest to our selves in order to please God which is the essence of all religious concept of being a person of the "Book".
At this Christmas let us all celebrate by giving Jesus and his mission the leading role in our thought and deed. God bless you all.

Bishop Ijaz Inayat Masih
Bishop of the Church of Pakistan & Chairman Interfaith Friendship Forum Pakistan

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