Jesus: the reason and the gift for Christmas
My dear brothers and sisters, as we celebrate Christmas this year, we see the lights of the festive season in the streets of Port-Louis, Antananarivo and Victoria and also in shops and homes. The trees around us reflect sunlight during the day and at night they glitter with decorating lights, especially the Christmas trees in our houses. We have started preparing the menu for the Christmas meal which will be a real feast. The music in our cars, shops, streets and homes are very festive and of course, we have been doing our shopping to buy the Christmas gifts. In short, at this season, this is what is expected of each one of us. It is Christmas.
Christmas cannot exist without the lights and the tree,
Christmas cannot exist without the meal,
Christmas cannot exist without the music,
Christmas cannot exist without the gifts.
But are we all comfortable celebrating Christmas? Do we know why we celebrate Christmas? Do we know who we celebrate at Christmas? Is there something missing or someone missing in our celebration? What is Christmas?
Jesus was not a genius as a child; he did not become a great general in the army or an admiral in the navy. He was neither an international politician nor was he a great traveller visiting the main centres – Rome, Alexandrea, Athens. He was not a famous author. He did not persuade the rich and powerful to back him in his mission and eventually he died a criminal’s death on a Roman Cross. He left a small broken band of followers who abandoned him to his fate.
Many would have thought if he were an ordinary man that this would have been the end of it with his execution.
History teaches the world (which God loves so much) that in some centuries after His death, this band of men and women (called disciples) had turned the known and civilised world upside down. But why then have we remembered his birth in Israel, in the Roman Empire during all these centuries.
My dearly beloved, the key to appreciate why we really celebrate Christmas is the fact (as we celebrate each year) that God our Father in His great love sent His Son Jesus to come on Earth, to live as one of us. He was crucified but he did not remain in the tomb. Jesus rose from the dead and will never die again. He is alive today and forever Alleluia! And this no one has ever done before and even today.
Christmas will only have a real meaning if we realise that the Baby in the stable is Jesus, the Son of God who was raised from the dead.
Christmas will only have a real meaning if we realise that Jesus came to earth to enable man and woman to come into a new relationship with God.
Christmas will only have a real meaning if we actually come into a living relationship with Jesus himself – the crucified one whom God raised from the dead.
Christmas is not only the lights and the tree,
Christmas is not only the meal,
Christmas is not only the music and the carols,
Christmas is not only the exchange of gifts.
My dear brothers and sisters, Jesus is the reason for Christmas, the only reason to celebrate Christmas.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Titus 2:11).
Jesus came to Earth on the first Christmas to save us, to reconcile us to God, to give us harmony with Him again. Jesus came to earth to give us the gift of himself, the gift of eternal life. Let us unwrap the gift and accept the free gift of salvation.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”
« Un Sauveur vous est né aujourd’hui dans la ville de David; c’est lui le Messie, le Seigneur. »
“Mpamonjy no teraka ho anareo anio ao an-tanànan’i Davida, dia i Kristy Tompo.”
“Ozordi en Sover in ne dan lavil David. Li menm Kris, Senyer.”
(Luke 2:11 ESV; Luc 2:11 BDS; Lioka 2:11 DIEM; Lik 2:11 BSK)
A Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year 2019 to you my dear fellow pilgrims on our earthly journey.
Together for His glory,
The Most Revd James R Wong Yin Song
Your fellow pilgrim and Archbishop