Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
The ordinary birth of the extraordinary Child- Christmas Christmas is popular all over the world commemorating the events of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells that God had a concern for the lost humanity. Humanity had lost the Divine touch. God wanted them to realize that they could be connected again to the Divine in them and that’s why the Divine had to become human to point out the Truth. The birth of Jesus was in difficult circumstances. Jesus’ father and mother, Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem when suddenly the birth pangs came about. There was no place for them to give birth to the child so they found an ordinary cattle-shed where Jesus was born. If Jesus was God sent Son then why the ordinary and difficult birth? Was not God concerned about his Son’s birth? Couldn’t he have provided him a more comfortable place to be born? The answer lies in the fact that God wanted people to discover the extraordinary in ordinary birth of Christ. When we go about in life thinking about how we are ordinary beings, not very important, God wants us to find the extraordinary in us. That extra in the ordinary is the Divine. The message of Christmas is this we may be living in pretty ordinary circumstances but Divinity is within us, we got to realize it, reach it and then stretch ourselves for God given vision for our lives. May this Christmas be a time for that re-discovery. Merry Christmas!
Friday, December 2, 2011
The Second Alternative
Two brothers grew under an abusive, alcoholic father. Their father had been in and out of prison many times. When the children grew one of the brothers became like his father. ‘Like father, like son’. He was in and out of jail many times; he was abusive and alcoholic too. Whenever asked about his condition, he would say, “My father was like me, I grew under him what else do you expect?” His brother though took another path, he became a gentleman, working in a big company, and he was never abusive or alcoholic. When asked about his successful life his answer was no different, “My father was abusive, alcoholic, I grew under him, so I became what I am today what else do you expect.” Friends, in life at every turn we encounter situations, good and bad and the turn-out of our lives depends on what path we choose, React or Respond! Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference.” These words are carved in our memories for eternity by the great poet Robert Frost.
What is Reacting? Reacting is a negative word. It doesn’t distinguish me as a human being from animals. Animals can react not respond. If you beat a dog with a stick it response is limited to two actions: fleeing or making you flee! In the olden times people reacted because till then that was the best option and awareness they possessed so many of our religious books are filled with examples of God allowing reaction. Hark! God is not unjust, but he worked through human beings and their understanding of him. So we have many of the scriptures of the olden times filled with pictures that could be summed up, “Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.” In simple language you harm me, I return you with the same limited response, I too harm you.
What is Response? Gandhi was thrown out of a train compartment which was only meant for the ‘white people’. He responded not by reacting but responding with a freedom movement in India which were based on principles of Truth and Non-violence. Jesus said, “If somebody slaps you on one cheek, give him the other.” Strange! But it shows that we as human beings are different from animals. We are given the God given ability to respond to a situation instead of reacting. Response is positive. It’s choosing the second alternative! We have many examples in history of them, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Buddha etc.
Conclusion: Choose your alternative from the given: It’s a lousy day vs. It’s a great day, Frown vs. Smile, Dwelling on curses vs. Blessings, Busybody vs. Busy-bee at work place, Treating client, customers and business partners as trash vs. Kings and Queens, Giving self to short term pleasures vs. Being patient for long term benefits, fear vs. faith. I hope we all graduate to choose the second alternative, to respond!