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Celebrating Christmas in the ecological spirit

Celebrating Christmas in the ecological spirit

By Aloys Budi Purnomo, Chairman of the Semarang Vicariate’s Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation and doctoral student in environmental science at Soegijapranata Catholic University, Semarang

That is why celebrating Christmas must not ignore its horizontal meaning of building solidarity and compassion with those in need.

The very first Christmas in history was a pointed social critique of the principle of the prosperity of the few that ignored the poverty of the many.

Christians begin their journey of hope toward the celebration of Christmas from Advent, a period that lasts four weeks. On this journey, Christians reflect on the abundance of God’s love for mankind. God’s love began at the very beginning of creation in the Garden of Eden.

It was there that God gave the promise of salvation to Eve, that the Life-Giver would be Born from her offspring. He was born through the “New Eve”: the Blessed Virgin Mary. She was chosen by God to conceive and give birth to Jesus without experiencing pain in childbirth, a punishment for Eve’s sin. Mary was freed from this because she was conceived without blemish in order to conceive and give birth to Jesus the Redeemer. The abundant life that God promises does not depend, on material possessions, but centers on a relationship of love and justice.

The past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have seen many of us prepare to welcome Christmas in a unique and different way. It has led us to celebrate Christmas with a new perspective on what is most important in our lives. Humanity has been challenged to lead a new way of life and relationships by enhancing the lives and dignity of all creation.

In particular, Christians are called to celebrate Christmas joyfully, but also more modestly. Theologically, Christmas is an event representing the spirit of simplicity in the Son of God Most High who became human, even of very lowly birth to a poor family.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the first Christmas is a sharp social critique of the prosperity of the few that ignores the poverty of the many.

In ecology, everything is interdependent and interconnected. The celebration of Christmas is inseparable from this principle of interdependence and interconnectedness. That is why celebrating Christmas must not ignore its horizontal meaning of building solidarity and compassion with those in need. The COVID -19 pandemic has forced us all to realize this reality with gratitude.

Jesus, whose birth is commemorated as Christmas, has taught us that the road to eternal life requires the willingness to share with our neighbors in need who need our help. Jesus had empathy for our human tendency to turn material possessions into idols.

The possessions and wealth we have are not evil in and of themselves, but when they become our focus, they take away our freedom to love our neighbor and pursue proper relationships. Material possessions hold us back when we lack sensitivity for those who suffer and need our attention.

In fact, we realize how often humans are tempted to accumulate wealth by violating the dignity and rights of the people who live in poverty and by violating the earth. For the sake of wealth, profit and momentary benefits, some people exploit creation to neglect the oppressed and future generations.

The first Christmas sent a message of joy, that human actions that please God bring peace on earth. The angels sang praises to God: “Glory be to God in the highest heavens! And on earth, peace be with the man who pleases Him!”

In this context, we can learn from Seyyed Hossein Nasr who wrote that an earth that is injured and bleeding distances humans from heaven (Nasr, 1990). In writing this, Nasr wanted to remind us that destructive behavior in the world that has been created has damaged the harmonious relationship between heaven and earth.

Religion and theology should not exist separately from humanism and ecology. Religion and theology have important spiritual resources to overcome the ecological crisis that has occurred, so we see that Christmas is also closely related to the ecological crisis. We cannot ignore the importance of the spiritual and intellectual aspects of Christmas in dealing with the ecological crisis.

Celebrating Christmas simply and in the spirit of caring for those in need is one way to mark Christmas in the midst of an ecological crisis. Caring is built on the salvation that Jesus brought, not only for the few, but for all people without discrimination.

In that spirit, Christmas in the midst of an ecological crisis like the pandemic challenges Christians anew to be more sensitive to each other as well as the universe. The true spirit of Christmas needs to be reinvigorated in order to maintain the integrity of creation and to preserve the environment. Merry Christmas!

►The Jakarta Post, December 24, 2021

Baca dalam bahasa Indonesia (alih bahasa oleh google):
https://www-unika-ac-id.translate.goog/cetak/celebrating-christmas-in-the-ecological-spirit/?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=id&_x_tr_hl=id&_x_tr_pto=wapp

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Nih jawaban buat kalian yang masih bingung benefit beasiswa masuk di SCU dan biaya kuliahnya yang affordable. Kalau udah paham langsung gassss yaa! 

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Selamat merayakan Hari Raya Idul Adha 1445 H ✨

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Gak usah galau SNBT ah, goyangin aja bareng D”CEMESH yuk 🤭

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Mau punya dosen asik - asik + suasana kuliah yang joyful? Yuk, buktikan sekarang!

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Namanya proses ada aja lika likunya, tapi jangan sampai salah pilihan, karna hanya SCU yang nyenengin ☺️ 

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Hola ✨ yuk manfaatkan kesempatan mendapatkan Beasiswa Christian Youth di SCU. 

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Kuliahnya seasik ini di @dkvscu, tempat yang tepat buat explore kreativitasmu 🫰

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