We celebrate Christmas this year in the midst of fear, anxiety, conflicts and poverty. It is not only because of pandemic but also because of the instabilities we encounter today.

Most of them pose a huge challenge in terms of maintaining the conventional understanding of spirituality. 

New Community

In this context, Bishop Tom Wright’s understanding of the Christ event seems to be an excellent solution.

He suggests that we need to experience the Christ event as a Messianic community, not as Adamic community.

The Messianic community is a community which is called and commissioned to live according to the Spirit of the Lord. Whereas, the Adamic community is a community which will follow the activities of the flesh.

It is a fascinating fact to understand that the primary task of the early church was to build up a new community.

The task of building up was a challenging one as it happened in the midst of interplay of state and religion. 

The focus of the text is to remind the reader about the task of building up faith communities in the foundation of their most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit.

It will lead to eternal life in the love of God and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Psalms 46.10: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God I will be exalted among the nations,  I will be exalted in the earth.

In the first Christmas, we see a heavenly Choir singing the glory of God which could create an atmosphere of spirituality and liberation. 

An Atmosphere of Meditation and Prayer

Singing Bhajans and the Bible devotions will surely develop an atmosphere of meditation and prayer which will empower the people of God in encountering the challenges and issues of life.  

Tom Wright evaluates:

But what does this ‘spirituality’ consist of? whether we realize it or not, people are often simply indulging in forms of ancient paganism – forms that are very similar to those that surrounded the first Christians. 

With his characteristic verve and incisiveness, it traces the parallels between the paganisms of the first and twenty-first centuries, and shows how a better understanding of God as Trinity can breathe fresh life into our understanding and communication of the gospel today. 

Are we . . . to water down the distinctives of Christian faith in order to make it more palatable? . . . Or are we to worship the God who is Father, Son and Spirit, and to find in that worship a renewed courage, a renewed sense of direction and a renewed hope for the future?’[1]

The Church’s Role as a Living Community

Therefore, it is important to understand the role of the Church as a living community that we should live in the power of the spirit.

The Christ’ event breaks down social barriers such as gender, race, caste and economic inequality.

Moreover, it is not easy to live in this world without understanding the challenges of climate ethics, and gender justice. We are called “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” as members of the Messianic community.

Christmas should enable us to explore the story of God’s mission to redeem and restore all creation. The Christ event will lead us to God’s sovereignty, providence, promise and ethical parameters.

The Christ’ event also promotes healthy social relationships including the restoration of family and community.

May God enable us to move forward by experiencing the spirit of Christmas by becoming a Messianic community.

Photo by United Nations Photo-Christmas in Darfur-South Sudan from Flickr

[1] Tom Wright, Spiritual and Religious, London: SPCK, 2017, p.45

Rev Dr C I David Joy serves as the Principal of Kerala United Theological College, Trivandrum, India.