With twinkling fairy lights adorning almost every nook and corner of the city, it is very evident that Hyderabad is celebrating a jolly Christmas today! It is a time of sharing with the less fortunate, spending time with family and friends, and planning for a new beginning. From lavish family lunches to trips to the church, the essence of Christmas is always one of belonging. But Christmas does not just mean cakes, wine, and merry-making. The youth today have made Christmas their own, away from the traditional concepts of shackling religiosity.
Healthy living for him
While some do want to start afresh, 23-year-old Ernest Rueben wants to surprisingly gain weight and gorge on cookies, cakes and delicious food! He says, “Religion to me means an everyday celebration for the joy that I have in Christ, which is complete and I feel Christmas is a celebration that is backed by a purpose.” Speaking about his ironical New Year goal, Reuben says, “I want to workout. Meditate on the word of God. Be the epitome of early to bed, early to rise. And master the art of consistency.”
Defines one’s relationship with God and more
Father Richard John, the youth director of the Youth Commission Archdiocese of Hyderabad, explains how the youth and faith have always had a dynamic aspect in religion. “There is no certain way to say that youth is drifting away or growing in faith. Based on their personal experiences each young person builds up his approach to religion. Hence, festivals like Christmas and others give an ambience in Church, in society, and in the family to reflect on one’s relationship with God and one’s neighbour.”
Change, the new normal
Victor Paul, a 23-year-old working professional from the city, moving away from the typical Christmas wish list, wants to make peace with everyone who did him wrong and vice a versa...an attempt to start afresh! “Religion to me means my faith in the God I believe. More than the word ‘religion’, it’s all about my personal relationship with the almighty. Christmas is a very joyous season, it’s all about happiness, love and getting dressed in your best. But the beauty of it is that it’s celebrated by almost everyone and not only Christians.”
It should define everyday life
Jessica Sicily Johnson is back home from Melbourne for the holidays and is looking forward to the lavish spread of food with her family and friends, and plans to work on a solid five-year plan for her New Year’s resolution. “Personally, I do not think religion should be confined to only the Christmas season, but should define our everyday life,” she says. Father Richard, taking a moment to contemplate, wants the youth to understand the value of people and relationships in a society where “fake news becomes viral more than good news”. “Jesus valued humanity so much that he became a man for us; so also young people can be happy when they value each person as special without discrimination in the name of caste, creed, colour or gender,” he sums up.