Saints of God, Merry Christmas:
We thank God for bringing us again in that annual festive season which, at times, walks us down memory lane where our pensive minds nostalgically savor the long gone Christmas events and ruminate on the glory moments.
Truly speaking, our hearts are filled with joy whenever we hear the very word “Christmas,” no matter how we may dread the rush, the expenditures or even how harsh the winter weather may treat some of us. Christmas is the time for celebrations and sharing happiness with our loved ones and those within our communities. It is a period when we allow the mouth the freedom to explore savory dishes, unhindered moments of degustation and delectable delicacies all in the guise of celebration.
But at a point in time, it would be a wise move to sit oneself down and ask why do people celebrate Christmas. It’s wise of you to know the reason behind your actions and not just be led by ignorance. The Bible cautions us to be prepared at anytime to tell others about the “Whats” and “Whys” we do certain things the way we do them.
In 1 Peter 3:15, it says that while we magnify, revere, venerate, extol and exalt Christ as Lord in our hearts, we should always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have in Jesus. There's much to the above verse, but I just wanna focus on the fact that you can’t give any answer to anybody if you don’t have it or know it yourself.
What would you say if someone asks you what Christmas is all about? Do you just elevate Jesus Christ because others do the same? Or is there a substance more to it? Do you celebrate the season because you long to belong? To follow the crowd? What would you say if someone asked you why the green trees? The colorful lights? The unwrapped presents? The clean streets? The decorations and festive atmosphere?
You see, Knowing these answers by heart is more important than the physical celebration we do during this miraculous season. This is because it’s the understanding of the season that changes people’s lives, makes them bounteous and causes love to abound. A lack of understanding of what we do and the way we do them can greatly mislead someone.
It’s not surprising to see people so excited about the season of Christmas but if you ask to find out what the commotion or fuss is all about, it may shock you to hear that the brouhaha is about the merchandizing of artistic products and commercial activities of high profit margins booming during that season.
You may also be bemused to discover that someone labored so hard for money to purchase a beautiful dress or an outfit just to go to the nightclubs during this heaven inspired season.
While some may overindulge in alcohol, others may become excessively promiscuous, and others engage in different kinds of crimes in search of money for their so called “Celebration” at Christmas.
It’s not strange in some locations during Christmas season to hear that the rate of crime goes quite high rather than the elevation of the personage of Jesus Christ.
Some may see the festive season as an opportunity to indulge in activities that they would never or rarely do under normal circumstances. And these come with far reaching consequences of problems ranging from accidents to death, sickness, unwanted pregnancies and imprisonment or penal servitude. The list is endless. But all these victims had an idea of “Celebration,” but a distorted idea.
They were ignorant and ignorance kills, child of God. Of course, people do die because of ignorance. The Bible says that people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). That’s ignorance.
If you would go to some prison institutions, you would see people who are there because of their idea of “Christmas celebration.” There are single mothers and fathers who struggle through life because they took up parental roles when they were not ready for it. They became victims of their idea of “Christmas celebration.”
Even the grave can testify that some people came there earlier than their time because of “Christmas celebration.” Hell can also bear witness that some who were not appointed to be there went there because of their idea of “Christmas celebration.” Can you see how destructive, ruinous and devastating ignorance can be?
But God didn’t leave us in the dark, either. He revealed to us much about what happened at Christmas.
The true spirit of Christmas is not about glorifying sin and attributing to sin an unmerited reputation. The true spirit of Christmas is also not about competition. You don’t have to spend beyond your means because you wanna be like or look like your neighbor.
The true spirit of Christmas is about love and peace unto men brought about by our Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ. You don’t need an expensive outfit or car to merit that love and peace. All you need is Jesus because money can’t buy it. Nor can it be attributed to you by your fame.
The love of God, revealed to men in the person of Jesus Christ, is the big idea and the sole theme of Christmas season. That is the reason for Christmas and the reason behind its celebrations. This is what we should promote in every way and discard all other things that are inconsistent to this truth.
We celebrate Christmas because we have been given a gift unlike any other gift. The greatest gift of God ever. At Christmas, God gave us a Son mighty in counsel, great in leadership and the only source of everlasting peace (Isaiah 9:6).
A unique and only Son to God (John 3:16), who was born King (Matthew 2:2), and Savior (Matthew 1:21). A Son with a mission to save that which was lost (Luke 5:32), mediating between God and mankind (1 Timothy 2:5 ), and in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14).
Indeed, God gave us a Son greater than the angels (Hebrew 1:4), whose Name is superior (Hebrews 1:4), higher than any other name and the center of attraction for worship (Philippians 2:9). A Son who's the radiance of God's glory (Hebrews 1:3), the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), and the exact representation of God's being (Hebrews 1:3).
A Son who's the Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2), the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15), for whom and by whom God created all things (Hebrews 1:2; John 1:3, Colossians 1:16). And in whose very nature all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).
Child of God, at Christmas God gave us a Son called Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:21), who is the Messiah and Lord (Luke 2:11). A Son in whom God Himself was pleased to have all His fullness dwell (Colossians 1:19, 2:9).
Now, think about such a divine personality with great notability coming to earth? Think about a divine dignitary with nonpareil beauty taking up residence on earth? Think about a divine eminence with unmatched divine significance about to be born? Would that unique breaking news not stir and generate an immense degree of excitement for those living on earth? ooh! It surely would.
This Son is the expression of the love of God the Father unto us. A source of life for us all (John 3:16). This Son called Jesus is the reason behind the celebration (Luke 2:10).
So you see that God didn’t keep us in the dark about this heaven inspired season. It was God who told man how to behave during Christmas season. When the angel of God appeared to earth on Christmas day, he said to men: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today (the Christmas day) in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).
Did you just catch that I like I did? God says Christmas isn’t a time for fear and confusion of any kind, including that induced by acts of terrorism. But a time for great joy and celebration for all people. Why so? Because A Son is born. That’s the breaking news!! That’s what the season is all about! And that's what the jollification and merrymaking should be all about.
You see, celebration and merchandizing aren’t bad at all but the mindset behind them may be troublesome and misleading. Those who attempt to merchandize the season for their personal enrichment should also be believers of the One whose affairs they seek to promote. When we know the truth behind the celebration and activities of the season, it brings more clarity, makes us more focused and much happier when celebrating.
So do not avoid celebrating Christmas, however, be sure you know the “Whys” of your actions. Let your idea of celebration not mislead you. With the right motives and frame of mind, choose to send the right signal, the right idea and the right message during your celebration.
Make your celebration glorious as you create as much joy as you could around your vicinity and community. Let God be glorified in every aspect of it just as the Bible admonishes us to do whatever, whether in word or deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17).
To enhance your celebration, let the love of God in your heart flow unhindered (Romans 5:5). Do not allow the acts of “Terrorism” to dry up the flow of your love or cause you to breed resentment, hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness and the aversion to people of different religion or race. Be genial, amiable and approachable. Let your aura exude good humour, bonhomie and benevolence.
Reach out to others with the good news. Tell them “Now” why the trees are green with lights and decors on it. Reachout to the orphans, the prison inmates, the homeless, the less privileged within the community.
Forgive your enemies during this season of Christmas. Show tolerance and love. Aspire to serve better at work. Strive to avoid all kinds of arguments, evil comments and insults from your lips. Make peace with those around you. You may send someone a greeting card or invite someone for a meal or go share a meal with somebody else. Show proper respect for yourself and those around you. And be of a good example to your children in words and actions.
All these are some of the ways that we can celebrate the Christmas season with the right motives. But above all, let the Spirit of God lead you in the ways that are appropriate, applicable and germane to your situation.
May the manifest love of God in Christ Jesus inspire your celebration, undergird your actions, light your path, rekindle your hearts with compassion, joy and much expectation as you look to the Son as your only source of life.
We love you all and pray for you too.
Merry Christmas to you and family.
Dr. P.C. AKUBUEZE AND TEAM