DECEMBER 25 is the most celebrated of Christian holidays throughout the world.Even the heathen who does not know what the door of a church looks like is excited when this time of the year comes around.
It is a time characterised by hefty bonuses, leave from work, families coming together, gifts, bright lights, decorated trees, loud music, new clothes, careless drinking and eating, travelling, partying and so on.
Sadly, it is the time when there is high undesired carnage on our roads and fatal beerhall brawls.
Christmas Day is the day on which Christians worldwide are meant to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the central theme of the Christian faith.
A study on the origins of Christmas and the reason behind it will lead you to a historic governor of Rome named Constantine. Understandably, there are some sects of the Christian faith who do not recognise this holiday.
It is obvious that the exact date of the birth of Christ cannot be ascertained; hence while I don’t personally take December 25 as Christ’s birthday, I do appreciate and take time to remember and celebrate the birth of my Lord — something which I feel should be done not only on December 25, but on a daily basis.
As I look at the way Christmas is celebrated, I wonder if at all it is done in the right spirit.
I wonder if we even fully understand what the birth of Jesus means to us.
The biblical record of the birth of Christ states in Matthew 2:1-3: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship Him. When Herod the King heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
Matthew 2:11: “And when they came into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped him . . . they presented gifts unto him . . .”
Then follows the saddest part of Christ’s birth. Luke 2:7: “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
From the above texts, we notice very disturbing things surrounding the birth of Jesus.
Firstly, the Jews together with their leaders had no idea about the birth of their own Messiah. It took foreigners from the east to bring the news to them and upon hearing the good news, instead of being glad, the Bible says that they were troubled. The question from the foreigners “Where is he that is born King?” sparked fear and resentment in their hearts.
I cannot help but notice how even in today’s world the mere mention of the name of Jesus to some people sparks arguments and feelings of dislike towards others.
That night in Bethlehem business went on as usual.
We could use our imagination and say people went about their daily business, children did their homework and wives prepared their meals as usual while husbands read their newspapers or watched the soccer game on TV.
There was no excitement about the birth of the King. I can imagine how disappointed the wise men must have been to find such a spirit in Bethlehem that night.
But let us come closer home — are we any different than they were? Where is the King in the way we celebrate Christmas?
We claim it to be the day in which we celebrate and remember his birth yet our actions on such a day are in total disapproval to what he expects of us.
Maybe it’s just me, but according to the Bible account the wise men on the day of Jesus’ birth came to “worship” and offer gifts of gratitude to Him. How many of us have remembered to give gifts to our loved ones yet we have no gift for God?
Again I ask where is the King in the way you celebrate Christmas? I certainly do not see Him in drowning yourself in alcohol till you cannot even walk?
I do not see him in reckless driving that endangers the lives of innocent people, nor do I see him in overspending or in gluttonous eating and drinking, the loud music, the packed beer halls and clubs and the many indecent acts they entertain.
While it is a good time to spend with family and friends, let us not forget that Christmas is all about Jesus, the real light we should look for is the light of his word and not the bright lights, the real tree that we should gaze upon is not the Christmas tree, but the tree upon which He died for our sins, the real gift we should aim to give is the gift of our hearts to a God who loves us so much.
The real new outfit we should long for is the one that He alone can give- the robe of righteousness.
If Christmas is truly the day we remember Christ’s birth, then surely we should see more Christlike acts around this time. We should see more people in churches than in clubs and bars, more selflessness than selfishness, more giving than receiving, more ministering to the needy, more gifts of gratitude to God, more reconciliation than fighting, we should see a spirit of forgiveness and acceptance among Christians.
On that fateful night Mary and Joseph walked from door to door looking for a place for her to deliver her precious baby. What a privilege it would have been for the son of God to be born in my home, but on that day no one would open their doors to them.
They ended up in a manger, a place fit for animals. There the son of God made his humble entrance into the world. The Bible states “there was no room” for them.
Perhaps in your life you have not made room for Jesus, perhaps even over this festive period you had not considered making room for Him in your plans, I ask you to reconsider and make time for God over this holiday.
Let it not be said of you that when the son of God came your way you had no room. Why not make time to attend a church service or spend some time in prayer thanking God for the year and the gift of his Son. So amidst all your travelling, spending, eating, drinking and spending time with family remember to leave some room for Jesus.
After all, without Him there would be no Christmas!
I wander if Jesus were to join you for whatever it is you have planned for this year’s Christmas, would He be honoured or would you be ashamed.
Having said that may I wish you all a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.