Text: Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
Dear Lord and Father, we thank you for your great love and mercy. You have thought of us, you have sought for us, and you have manifested your glory. You have regarded us this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of your son, come among us and show us your mercy and help; we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen!
I bring to you felicitations and greetings of great joy on this Christmas Day; as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in this year 2022. The year 2022 has been a mixed bag of several things, good and bad, challenging and things to celebrate, but it is necessary for us, to put aside all that we have been through and for once focus on what the Lord is doing and the great things, we have received from him.
This is Christmas; Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Saviour. The Saviour of the world. As women know, the birth of every child brings joy to the family and the birth of Jesus did not only bring joy to the family of Mary and Joseph, but also to the world. You can feel it in the air or experience it in your interactions with people. It is because Jesus brought a change in our history, human lives and experiences. Indeed, the birth of Jesus changed the conception and perception of life; it changed human conditions.
“You may see some captions that may say holiday season, it is not just holidays. Some may say they are celebrating Xmas, then take away Christ, while leaving Mass, which means celebration.” The reason for the celebration is Jesus Christ and we must always keep him at the centre of what we are doing.
This season is a season of family reunion, we cannot understand why this is happening until we look at the scriptures; when Emperor Caesar Augustus commanded that everybody should go and be registered in his hometown; in his own family. “The Bible says that all travelled, including Joseph and Mary, who was heavily pregnant and about to deliver.”
And while they travelled to Judea, the Bible says that this happened because Joseph was of the tribe of Judah, from the lineage of David, the town of Bethlehem. Every Christmas people travel to be with their families just like it happened in the Bible during the birth of Jesus Christ. This is a season of rejoicing in the love and giving gifts because God first gave us the greatest gift. It is a time of rejoicing with one another. Because the coming of Jesus has brought us hope, salvation, deliverance, and grace and proposed to our lives.
For this reason, we have this season to care for one another. It is a season to declare the peace of God with one another. We welcome you to this year’s celebration, but let us note that the significance of what we are doing is that of God. It is awesome that the Almighty God chose to become a man; to experience what we are, to share in what we have and in what we are passing through, so that, His own experience, His suffering death, and resurrection shall deliver us from the bondage of sin and of the devil.
As the word of God says: “If the Son of God shall set you free, you will be free indeed.” We are celebrating what God has done, and the great things He has shared in our family life. He knows the trials that we are passing through as father, mother, brother, sister, son, and daughter, there is no experience that we are passing through that Jesus never passed through. He also had brothers and sisters. He also experienced the struggles of siblings, the hunger and pains of family life, but above all by his sharing in our lives, our family life is redeemed.
He has come to give us hope and direction, so no matter what your family is passing through, this season is the season to celebrate that God has remembered our families. It is the season that we experience the grace, the truth, and the power of God. All these are the demonstration of the love of God for us, so when we talk about the love of God in this season, it is not the love that will have an end, rather it is the love that he has generously given to us. “I want you to know that God loves you no matter what you may be passing through at times. Sometimes we write ourselves off thinking that because people have said this or done that, we are worthless. God so much loved us that He gave us His only Begotten Son, so that, whoever believes in Him and trusts in Him will not die or perish, but will have everlasting life. This is the season of love and that is why we receive gifts and give gifts because God first gave us and because He has given us, let us open our hearts to the love of God and to the love of one another. Let’s share our experience of God in our lives.
God loves us in spite of who we are; it is not because of what we have done, He loves us even when we are offending Him. It was a sacrificial love and I believe God is tearing our hearts in a time like this for us to love even those who are different from us, those who may not have liked us and those who may not have wished us well.
Also, I am mindful that this message is coming to some of us who may be in a very difficult situation in the IDP camps, those who have lost everything, and those who may be passing through challenging situations. I still want to tell you that even in this situation, God still loves us. His love is not like the love of man. The love of God is awesome and reflects on the person of Jesus. We must draw close to worship Him, adore Him and rejoice.
This Christmas, I encourage you to look for a reason to thank God; a reason to rejoice, a reason to sing praise unto God, for it was on the first Christmas when the angels sang to the glory of God. May we receive grace to find purpose or reason to thank and praise God. As we look at the Bible texts in Matthew and Luke, we can see that at the birth of Jesus Christ, as the king of all nations, not just for the Jews; because the wise man said: “Where is the King of the Jews that were born,” so, it is not just the King of the Jews, but the King of the nations and that’s why we can see a simultaneous revelation of what God is.
Those who may not have the special revelation of God, who may not even understand when an angel may appear, but they gave the revelation of the great King through the star, this simultaneous revelation has shown us that God manifested the best of Jesus Christ both in special revelation and in natural revelation. God revealed this to the wise man, the people who spend time studying the events of the world and interpreting them, when they saw the star in the east. (In those days east could be a reference to Persia present-day Iran) they knew that something extraordinary of great magnitude had happened, it was good news.
As we move towards the end of the year and into the New Year, there will be many kinds of declarations and in most cases, people are triggered by the declarations. I want to tell you that Christmas is about the good news; a good tidying of great joy for all people, for all nations, and for all people of every condition and every class. It was a King that was born whose life would impact humanity Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Everything about Him from conception to His birth to His life, ministry, to His death and resurrection, His ascension, and returning glory are all contained in the word of God. For He was born according to the scriptures; the seed of the woman who was to destroy the devil, crush the head of the serpent and all his works.