Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the greatest man who ever lived, the one man who gives meaning, purpose, and values to a more and more secular, materialistic lifestyle that has alienated children from their parents.
Christmas is about children too and it will be a lonely time for some families. The children live much of their childhood lives surfing on the internet, playing video games, and entering dark digital forests where dangerous monsters lurk.
The internet can be a source of knowledge but for many more, it is the source of mindless entertainment that estranges youth from family and friends and distracts them from engaging with society around them.
Many are unable to understand the truth and the social realities of life. Few can talk openly heart-to-heart with their parents.
They exist in a world apart, silent and withdrawn. They can be negatively influenced, groomed for sexual abuse, or become victims of online abuse and sextortion.
What young people need today is a blameless ideal superhero, a model they can believe in, one that performs miracles by helping humanity by doing good, standing for justice, teaching the truth, saving the children, and inspiring others to help and protect them too.
Spiderman or Superman lives in the imagination but a human involved in direct action helping the poor or youth cope with the frustrations of life is a real hero.
That is a person doing good who believes with conviction that taking actions like speaking the truth to power will challenge the leaders to change.
The hero stands for the truth and knows and believes that justice and goodness will conquer and overpower the forces of evil and oppression.
We need more heroes to set people free from poverty, from jails, and from the oppressive controlling power of the ruling elite.
They will be agents of change and, like Jesus of Nazareth, they will change the world from darkness to light. It is His birthday we celebrate because his words, deeds, and his life and death have revolutionized the world.
Christian parents, pastors, priests, teachers, and politicians need to cast aside their apathy and usual lifestyles and learn and be superheroes and community leaders for their children and youth by giving positive good examples by standing in solidarity with the poor.
This Christmas they could organize youth groups to do good, like visiting innocent children jailed like animals behind bars in the youth jails.
They can sit together and write to the politicians demanding the children be freed unless proven guilty of some serious crime they may be accused of. Parents should show the way by good example and be heroes to their children.
There are so many dangerous influences in the world over the internet that can brainwash people and children into joining cults and allowing them to be enslaved as happened in Surigao Del Norte in the Philippines.
There are as many as a thousand children who were sexually abused and enslaved in so-called “child marriages,” now outlawed. They were sexually abused by leaders of a “cult” organization that had persuaded their parents to leave home and jobs and live in an enclave community in the remote hills of Surigao del Norte.
If the parents had been empowered and inspired by Gospel values, they would never have been influenced to allow the criminals to capture their children and abuse many of them. We need leaders and people who will demand justice for these victims of abuse.
The teaching of Jesus offers us happiness based on caring for each other and the poor, helping the exploited people and lifting the downtrodden, saving the sexually abused and enslaved.
He is the liberator we ought to imitate and follow. He is the bringer of enlightenment and he challenges all of us to promote and call for a revolution of the heart and mind by all.
That’s a peaceful revolution that will change society from the inside. He invites us to share the most important values that will transform society and humankind by having solidarity, compassion, empathy, and understanding for the poor. He calls us to be working for truth and justice.
This is what makes a life of justice and peace, harmony and goodness. We, humans, can live a life of dignity, respecting human rights, and giving love and respect to our wounded neighbors like the good Samaritan.
Surely that is what youth and most people desire in their inner hearts. They need to be inspired to reach out for such a life. His mission was to transform society from within, to have a revolution of mind and heart among the people.
Every one of us has the potential and ability to challenge evil in society and to change it by having a conviction that we can win. We have to believe with mind and heart that by standing for the truth and doing good we will defeat evil. That is what Christmas should be all about.
He was so influential he persuaded many people to follow him and he inspired people so much that it made him a powerful person of influence and a threat to the status quo and leaders like King Herod and the elite rulers of Jerusalem.
They executed Jesus as a dangerous rebel. He was dangerous because of his revolutionary talk, like when one day he stood a child in front of a crowd and said that the child was the most important of all in the family of God. . . if we accept and respect a child then we respect and accept him.
That was revolutionary. It was a direct challenge to the arrogant and the powerful elites. They couldn’t accept that kind of transformative thinking and acting. He demanded that child abusers be held accountable, they rejected his teaching.
This is what Christmas is really all about – accepting Jesus of Nazareth and his mission as our own, following him as our role model and wise teacher of values.
We, humans, have the amazing ability to think independently for ourselves and know and understand the good and bad and we have the free choice to choose to do good or do nothing to help suffering abused children and adults.
How do we show our love to the wounded, abused, and needy people? What choice will we make to help the needy this Christmas and into the year ahead?
Irish Father Shay Cullen, SSC, established the Preda Foundation in Olongapo City in 1974 to promote human rights and the rights of children, especially victims of sex abuse. The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.