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The Call to Compassionate Inclusivity
A Christmas Message from the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 071222-1
December 22, 2007

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] Christmas, the festival that celebrates the birth of Christ has been largely misunderstood over the years. Today it mostly suggests festivity and self-indulgence with some peripheral sharing and giving. This popular emphasis does little to change people and relationships for the better, and is limited to a few days known as the 'season'.

The essence of the Christmas story is that God becomes a human and reconciles estranged humans to demonstrate the value of humanity and call humans to live in reconciled, just, and integrated community. This is the Biblical understanding of peace.

Consequently Christmas calls for a radical shift in our world-view if we too want peace. Because God became human and lives amongst humans, humans are to see the face of God in 'the other' and strive towards a truly human community. In a nutshell, Christmas is the call to compassionate inclusivity.

Through this Christmas message, God in Christ proclaims good news for Sri Lanka. We are called to establish a reconciled, just and integrated society in which no one is violated or excluded. We are reminded that the socially excluded and economically exploited, the traditional and historical enemy, and the feared and hated oppressor can come together in a redefined freedom. We are taught that for this to happen grievances are to be addressed and healed and hostile relationships restored through repentance and forgiveness.

In practice this would require peace negotiations between the GoSL and the LTTE, the strengthening of trust between Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, the recognition and affirmation of the forgotten, smaller, ethnic communities in our midst, and reconciliation between victim and oppressor, exploited and exploiter.

I urge our leaders and people to take note of the Christmas message and to be transformed and transform our beloved Sri Lanka into a land of peace where violence, corruption, discrimination and fear will be a thing of the past.

On behalf of our Church I wish all our people, specially the poor, the frightened, the harassed and the displaced of all communities, a new dignity and a new freedom this Christmas. May the New Year bring us all sustainable integration and fulfilment.

With Peace and Blessings.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo