CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM GENERAL SECRETARY OF NCCI.
Amidst the warmth and glow of candles lit last Christmas, there was one flame that was cruelly snuffed out. That was the precious life of a young vibrant girl, who, like millions others had hopes of enjoying the fullness of life that is God’s gift. The ghastly incident of the gang rape of this 23 year old girl generated widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned, both in India and abroad. This girl, Nirbhaya (meaning: fearless) as she was called, died on 29th December 2012 after battling with the injuries inflicted on her in the most diabolical manner. Nirbhaya has become a symbol of the cruel and unjust victimization in patriarchal society. Women are not given the space and the right to be partners with men. Thereby society is deprived of the edifying contribution that women can make to all creation.
When Mary declared “Behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”, she was fully aware of the consequences of an unwed girl/woman becoming pregnant. While the probability of being stoned to death or being shunned for her pregnancy was at the highest, she, in her strong faith in God could assert “Behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed”.
The central goal of ecumenical movement is the visible unity of the Church which involves relationships between churches which is ultimately relationships between people, much more at the grassroots level than in global ecumenical bodies at the top level. The NCCI Centenary theme is “Towards Integral Mission and Grassroot Ecumenism.” How do we foster such ecumenical relationships? Definitely, the faith, life and witness of Mary, with her vision for a revolutionary change to bring justice play a key role. This young girl envisioned such communities in God’s plan of Salvation through her Son Jesus.
The Magnificat has strong pointers to the absolute necessity of a revolutionary justice in terms of social, political, economic and spiritual aspects holding everything in life intact as we look for God’s reign in this world where the Church bears witness to the Triune God and the salvation of the entire creation.
Our Christmas theme this year is “All generations shall call me blessed!”: Women at the centre of Christmas. We invite you this Christmas to focus on one of the central concerns of Christmas: recognition of the dignity of women, their liberation from all injustices in society, their partnership in God’s gospel in a groaning world, and their contribution to the reign of god on earth.
We wish you a challenging Christmas and an inspiring New Year 2014.
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
National Council of Churches in India (NCCI)