Christmas Messages
December 23, 2009

The Nativity of Jesus: Christmas festival, celebration in many ways


Christmas Message from His Grace, the Most Rev. Edmund John, Archbishop of the Spiritual Baptist Archdiocese of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

“PEACE ON EARTH” … Shalom!

Christmas Day is celebrated as a major festival and public holiday in most countries of the world, even in many whose populations are not majority Christian.

Around the world, Christmas celebrations can vary markedly in form, reflecting differing cultural and national traditions. A small number of Christians have adopted many of the secular aspects of Christmas such as gift-giving, decorations and Christmas trees.{{more}}

In Christianity, Christmas is the festival celebrating the Nativity of Jesus, the Christian belief that the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament’s Messianic prophecies was born to the Virgin Mary. The story of Christmas is based on the biblical accounts given in the Gospel of Matthew, namely Matthew 1:18-Matthew 2:12 and the Gospel of Luke, specifically Luke 1:26-Luke 2:40.

According to these accounts, Jesus was born to Mary, assisted by her husband Joseph, in the city of Bethlehem, in a stable, surrounded by farm animals, though neither the stable nor the animals are specifically mentioned in the biblical accounts. However, a manger is mentioned in Luke 2:7 where it states: “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Shepherds from the fields surrounding Bethlehem were told of the birth by an angel, and were the first to see the child. Many Christians believe that the birth of Jesus fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament.

Christians celebrate Christmas in many ways. In addition to this day being one of the most important and popular for the attendance of church services, there are numerous other devotions and popular traditions… People decorate their homes, and exchange gifts. In some Christian denominations, children perform plays re-telling the events of the Nativity, or sing carols that reference the event. Some Christians also display a small re-creation of the Nativity, known as a Nativity scene or crib, in their homes, using figurines to portray the key characters of the event.

Christmas is typically the largest annual economic stimulus for many nations. Sales increase dramatically in almost all retail areas, and shops introduce new products as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies.

In all our gift-exchanges and compliments it will be remiss of me to ignore the many persons in our lives who encouraged us over the years. Our leaders must be complimented very highly for their timely execution of the many challenges confronting them and being able to excel despite the hurdles in their way.

On behalf of Our Patriarch, The Lord’s Anointed Cosmore Pompey, the Diocesan Council and the Spiritual Baptist Family of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I extend Season’s Greetings to Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Governor General, the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister and his Cabinet, the Hon. Arnhim Eustace, Leader of the Opposition, Senators, the citizens and visitors to our beloved country and those engaged in maintaining peace in our troubled world. I pray God’s richest blessings be yours as we look forward to a bountiful New Year.

Edmund John