Celebrating the Challenge of Christmas!

by Martin Jalleh
Christmas Day, 2010

Christmas is here. For many of us who are Christians, we have allowed rampant commercialisation and the “Walt Disneyfication” of Christmas to reduce our Christian spirituality to mere sentimentality.

By all means, let us enjoy the carols, cakes, cool cards and cozy nativity scenes, but let us also put Christ back into Christmas and remind ourselves that Christ did not enter a world of comfortable spiritual sentiment.

Whilst commenting on what King Herod represents in the Christmas story a Bible scholar describes the real world in which Jesus Christ entered into and why He did: “Herod represents the dark side of the gospel. He recognizes something about Jesus that in our sentiment we fail to see: that the birth of this child is a threat to his kingdom, a threat to that kind of domination and rule. Jesus challenges the very power structures of this evil age.”

“Jesus enters a world of real pain, of serious dysfunction, a world of brokenness and political oppression. Jesus was born an outcast, a homeless person, a refugee, and finally he becomes a victim to the powers that be. Jesus is the perfect savior for outcasts, refugees, and nobodies. ”

This point is equally well put by renowned Catholic priest Rev Fr Richard Rohr: “What we call the Incarnation, God becoming a human being, becoming one of us, strikes directly at the heart of evil and corruption in the world.

“God becoming human looks evil in the eye and takes it on without flinching. As Bruce Cockburn sang it so brilliantly, it is God ‘kicking the darkness till it bleeds daylight’.”

The domination, darkness, discrimination and diabolical dangers which both authors speak of, exist and are deeply entrenched in our very own country, Bolehland, today. Surely, such suffering and injustice are too great now to settle for any infantile gospel or any infantile Jesus.

Renowned Bible scholar William Barclay describes the lullaby which Mary the mother of Jesus sang her baby in utero (the Magnificat) as “revolutionary”. He says the song highlights four revolutions that God inaugurated at Christ’s birth – a moral, social, economic and spiritual revolution.

We become partakers of the revolution when we allow God to work a “reversal” in our lives. Reversal is a theme common to the biblical stories. Mary’s Magnificat speaks of reversal. God puts down the mighty and exalts those of low degree. God fills the hungry and sends the rich away empty. God is with the poor and oppressed not with the mighty and powerful of the world. God has done great things for a lowly handmaiden.

During Christmas, Christians are confronted with a choice between comfortable Christianity of Christmas pie, pudding and the perfect paraphernalia or the courage to change personally and allow God to “revolutionize” our priorities, values, thinking and our very being to bring about real, relevant and radical change in our beloved country.

A Very Holy and Blessed Christmas to all Christians on this wonderful Blog of Mr Lim Kit Siang!

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Saturday, 25 December 2010 - 10:53 pm

    During dis festive season, let there b light n enlightenment
    Christians must b bold n united 2 release dis nation fr further suffering under UmnoB/BN
    B prepared 4 d next GE, spread d words of freedom n wisdom, register as voters
    Deliver salvation of dis nation fr evil politicians
    Also deliverance fr our current “government of d feckless, by d crooked, 4 d connected”

  2. #2 by pulau_sibu on Saturday, 25 December 2010 - 11:26 pm

  3. #3 by monsterball on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 1:20 am

    The late Arafat never misses a Christmas mass…unless he is sick or not available.
    Many Jewish politicians love and respected him and want to end the religious conflict.
    In the end…it is always the sickening racists cunning Jews that want the war to go on and on.
    And now..Najib have paid a Jewish company RM77 million per year how to govern..on and on. ..by winning hearts and minds…through words…slogans and advertising…which the Jews are the experts in the world.
    First advise..’1Malaysia”
    (deleted) for UMNO B party…still shows vast majority will support BN…from a released poll result?
    You see…to behave positive and put out positive news is one way to convince suckers too buy that lousy product.
    Malaysians have enough experiences not to be fooled year in year out..on sub-standards products…and will they be fooled by Najib?
    Lets see how many Malaysians will buy it at 13th GE.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 8:50 am

    How our cops Christmas–“Kapoww!” “Ouch!” “Bash!” “Take that, you mata sepet!”


  5. #5 by boh-liao on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 10:07 am

    Looks like d two Malaysian hostages received BETTER treatment fr their Filipino abductors than d treatment Chia BH received fr our police officers
    Their faces were not swollen & not full of blue black n red patches
    Heil 1M’sia!

  6. #6 by k1980 on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 10:15 am

    Pauline Hanson’s OneAustralia = white supremacy

    Ehud Barak’s OneIsrael = jewish supremacy

    Jib’s 1malaysia = Tuans’ supremacy

  7. #7 by pulau_sibu on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 10:21 am

    malaysians are violent people. the men beaten the men. the women also beaten the women maids. both malaysian men and women are the same wild animals

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 10:32 am

    “Herod represents the dark side of the gospel. He recognizes something about Jesus that in our sentiment we fail to see: that the birth of this child is a threat to his kingdom, a threat to that kind of domination and rule. Jesus challenges the very power structures of this evil age.” – Martin Jalleh

    How many educated Romans really believed in their deities, whether Jupiter, Mars Vulcan etc? Yet they persecuted the Christians, and unless they “converted” and dropped the pinch of incense on the altar of these Gods, they would be thrown into arena of the Coliseum to face lions & gladiators. So was Jesus, his teachings were a threat to the established hierarchy of power. Herod was shocked when Jesus proclaimed another truer kingdom – Kingdom of God- than Herod’s own backed by Rome’s imperial armies. Herod tried to deal with the threat by trying to kill Jesus while he was still a baby – by killing all new borns. Where Herod failed, the Jewish High Priests, who grew uncomfortable when Jesus proclaimed that he was the Messiah, subsequently succeeded. Led by Caiphas, they had Jesus arrested and urged Pilate for his crucifixion.

    The persecutors and oppressors of Jesus and Christians were the persecutors and oppressors of not just that age but every age and for all times. It was never really a religious conflict. It’s always a clash of basic & prosaic interest regarding Power, Wealth, Positions, Money and Privileges in which religion or often political ideology is used and abused as an excuse by those in power and access to wealth to preserve existing order and their vested interests. In the same way Jesus was viewed as a crank by his persecutors and oppressors – and a danger to their interests and had to be put away, so were guys like Raja Petra Kamaruddin (Fan Yew Teng) (in the case of S’pore’s PAP, Lim Chin Siong) likewise viewed a danger to existing power structure and privileges and face prosecution for sedition or criminal defamation. 2000 years ago Socrates who taught the youths to take on a questioning attitude was also charged for corruption of their minds and forced to die by drinking poison unless he otherwise renounced his philosophy. The Christians themselves, who were earlier persecuted by Romans, later turned persecutors themselves as when Martin Luther was ex-communicated when he came up with reformist thinking, protestant maid, Joan of Arc was hounded and burnt on the stake when feudal lords (using religion again) felt offended and threatened by her doctrines. No less Copernicus, Galileo, Galilei, Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler were all persecuted by the Church because their telescopic observations that the earth was round and revolved around the sun challenged the political authority/orthodoxy of the Church that had taken the position that the earth was centre of universe!

    Likewise Ketuanan Rakyat – and to an extent 1 Malaysia or Middle Malaysia – had to be attacked because they are a threat to the existing vested interest of power and money built around the concept of Ketuanan Melayu and the NEP.

    There is really no conflict of religions or political ideology unless one means religion or political ideology is used as a pretext/excuse to protect privileges against counter ideas inimical to or in derogation of those vested interests….

    For man is Janus two faced, one having the compassion to take care of underdogs, to pursue truth and justice and to persevere against all odds to fight oppression – and the other the wicked and selfish side that protects all privileges and entitlement vested and punish others that threatened that. This conflict between the Good and Bad of our nature has been raging in eternal contestation since time immemorial.

  9. #9 by cemerlang on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 11:01 am

    The Bible did not create Santa Claus. God did not create Santa Claus. Walt Disney did not create Santa Claus. Santa Claus comes about because of the legend of Saint Nicholas. Since he has a sainthood, you should ask the people concerned whether this is a real saint or just a legend and not part of the bible. In Malaysia, Santa Claus replace Jesus Christ. Christians are guilty of that too. In Malaysia, Rudolph and his gang of merry reindeers replace the donkey Jesus Christ rode on. It is easy to accept Santa Claus and his wife and his deers because he is not real and he gives presents free of charge. But when it comes to Jesus Christ, oh no, no can do. What is real ? What is reality ? Jesus Christ is middle eastern. He is not a westerner. The Jews can be traced back to somewhere in Iraq, Syria. Don’t believe ? Then do a research yourself. The truth, nobody wants to know. The lies, yes because it is like gossips filling all the social events.

  10. #10 by limkamput on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 12:14 pm

    You don’t want to bring religions into politics. The moment you do that, you may not know where it begins and where it ends. Do religions make a difference to the world we live today? Try visualising a world without religions; do you think it would be worse than what the world is today?

  11. #11 by Comrade on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 12:59 pm

    A Christmas message to all my brothers and sisters in Christ taken from a beautiful Christian song.

    “Christmas isn’t Christmas
    Till it happens in your heart
    Somewhere deep inside you
    Is where Christmas really starts

    So, give your heart to people
    You’ll discover when you do
    That it’s Christmas
    Really Christmas for you”

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2011 to all of you.

  12. #12 by k1980 on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 2:14 pm


    ‘Twas the day AFTER christmas, so Jibby and Mooey decided to go look for a Christmas Tree.

    When they finally reach a fine stand of trees, Mooey hacks off the first tree, and stands back for Jibby to look at it.

    “Well, Jibby, What do you think?”

    “Sorry, Mooey, this tree won’t do. Let’s try another one.”

    They come upon another nice tree, Mooey hacks it off, and they both look at it.

    “How about this one, Jibby?”

    “Not quite, Mooey. Let’s keep looking.”

    This goes on until nightfall. Both Jibby and Mooey are cold, tired, and hungry.

    “Well, Jibby, what do we do now?”

    “Mooey, I think we should take home the next tree we find, whether it has lights on it or not.”

  13. #13 by cemerlang on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 9:51 pm

    Whether you love it, whether you hate it; the fact remains that religion, race and politics play a major part in Malaysia. Imagine there is no religion. No Christianity. No Islam. No Buddhism. No Hinduism. You are a Iban. You are a Malay. You are a Chinese. You are a Indian. In Malaysia, can you be great without the religion factor ? Why must Islam make you great ? Can you a Malay be great as a Malay ? Can you a Malay be great without Islam ? Can you an Arab be great as an Arab without the Islam factor in the equation ? Can you ? What makes you great actually ? If you edit the Christian song to please people then you take away the essence of it. So, give your heart to Jesus. 25th December is not Jesus birthday. And when your birthday comes, you would want me to wish you a happy birthday. How do you feel if on your birthday, nobody wish you a happy birthday and nobody give you gifts ? Instead of giving to the birthday person, you give among yourself and you greet among yourself. Do you know you hurt that actual birthday person ? Get your priorities straight.

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 10:19 pm

    In 1M’sia, not surprising 4 policemen 2 assault a person while in custody
    After all, even a former DPM was walloped kuat kuat till black eye while in custody
    Calimed 2 b self-immolation n self-inflicted, wow!

  15. #15 by yhsiew on Sunday, 26 December 2010 - 11:53 pm

    The benediction found in Paul’s second letter to believers at the Corinth church is an excellent benediction for Christian believers at the close of 2010.

    The benediction reads:
    2Cor:13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

    The Corinth church was fraught with bickering, disunity and sexual immorality. Yet Paul assured the believers there that in spite of their mistakes and shortcomings, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost were with them all.

    If you are a Christian and have gone through unpleasant experiences in 2010 (perhaps you have let God down or made mistakes in your walk with the Lord), then Paul’s benediction is for you!

    Rom:8:31: What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

  16. #16 by Ordinary on Tuesday, 28 December 2010 - 6:34 pm

    I wonder where to find this “Christmas” in the scriptures?

    What we could find is this:

    Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) (The Scriptures) 10:2-4
    (2) Thus said ????, “Do not learn the way of the gentiles (nations),1 and do not be awed by the signs of the heavens (Astrology, zodiac signs, etc.) , for the gentiles are awed by them.2
    Footnotes: 1Lev. 18:3, Dt. 12:30 & 18:9, Ezek. 11:12 & 20:32, Eph. 4:17, 1 Peter 4:3. 2Dt. 4:19 & 17:3. (3) “For the prescribed customs of these peoples are worthless, for one cuts a TREE (Christmas tree) from the forest, work for the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
    (4) “They adorn (decorate) it with silver and gold, they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it does not topple.

    Hence, we see:

    Isaiah 24:5-6 For the earth has been defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the Torot1, changed2 the law, broken the everlasting covenant3.
    Footnotes: 1Torot – plural of Torah, teaching. 2Jer. 23:36. 3This is the only reason, according to all Scriptures, why the earth shall be burned in the day of judgment – see also 13:9, 13:11, 26:21, 66:24, Mic. 5:15, Zeph. 1:2-18.
    (6) Therefore a curse shall consume the earth, and those who dwell in it be punished. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth shall be burned, and few men shall be left.

    2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of ???? shall come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with intense heat, and the earth and the works that are in it shall be burned up. (11) Seeing all these are to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be in set-apart behaviour and reverence, (12) looking for and hastening the coming of the day of Elohim, through which the heavens shall be destroyed, being set on fire, and the elements melt with intense heat! (13) But according to His promise we wait for a renewed heavens and a renewed earth (see Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22) in which righteousness dwells.

  17. #17 by ShiokGuy on Thursday, 30 December 2010 - 7:08 am

    How can we be united as One Malaysia or One Malaysian if we keep having policy that discriminate again one another? Or having a racist view of one another.

    I read an article in The Malay Mail about “Varsity Blue” and realize that the actual caused of varsity blue is the NEP and all those racist discrimination. And now some people are screaming “Need to help the unemployed fresh graduate”

    I strongly belief the saying that “Garbage In, Gargabe Out”, how can we produce a quality graduate when the raw material is not TOP Grade, and the Machine (Varsity) is Inferior?


    My two cents worth.

    Shiok Guy

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