December 25th is often viewed as a benchmark of the year that has passed, symbolising the success or failure of that year. Most Christians also recognise December 25th as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, but how many actually take the time to appreciate and enjoy the deeper meaning of Christmas? Is Jesus still in our hearts when we celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is an event with a wealth of meanings, as recorded in the Bible, which allows us to continue to understand, live and revive the meaning of Christmas this year. Two thousand years ago, when the angel of God appeared to Mary and Joseph, he told them that the child conceived by Mary had come from the Holy Spirit, and had to be given the name Jesus because He would save His people from sin (Matthew 1:21). The birth of the true Saviour remains the most beautiful gift of love on Christmas day. He was even called Immanuel, which means “God is with us” (Matt. 1:23). Appreciation of this must resonate in our hearts, both before and during our Christmas celebrations, and in our life and service every day.
We should be grateful that Christmas is celebrated on December 25th because it is close to the end, and turn, of the year. We are challenged to give Jesus the most beautiful gift on Christmas Day, and to ask ourselves whether Jesus really is living on in our words and actions. Did Jesus really become the only Saviour who lives in our hearts and our lives? How many promises of life changes have we made but not fulfilled, or even broken? Accepting Jesus as the only Saviour means making Him a person enthroned in our hearts and lives. He becomes the Lord of life who walks before us, and we follow the example of His love by serving and loving others, listening to and obeying His teachings, and striving to be more like Him in character and daily behaviour.
Reflecting on this, Christmas is like an alarm, reminding us of how much we love God and must offer our lives and services to Him, and of how grateful we are for the sacrificial love of Christ. The revelation of the love of Christ, who took the form of a human being to express how much He loves us, is proven through His sacrifice on the cross. Through the cross he bore the wrath of God, proving His generosity and His love for sinful humans. Because of this, Christmas is an alarm that keeps reminding us of of the wonder of God’s love, from the manger to the despicable crossbar.
Soon, Christmas will pass, and the New Year will begin. Let us give our best to God by providing space in our hearts, and filling our ministries and churches with God’s grace. Through Christmas we are reminded to show solidarity and brotherhood towards those who are despised, poor, suffering and marginalised. Let us give our lives as fragrant offerings before God, serving with the spirit of love for Christ. Let us open ourselves to repentance every day, so that we can be more like Christ.
Rev Thresi Mauboy Wohangara