Pastor Dermoth Baptiste, President St Vincent and the Grenadines Mission of Seventh-Day Adventists
The advent of Christmas gives us a powerful tool with which to teach the next generation about Jesus Christ and explain why He came to Bethlehem on a midnight clear. Christmas fills me with hope, joy, assurance, and happiness, for it speaks volume of Godâs magnificent, miraculous, marvellous love to a world gone astray by the blight of sin. When man transgressed Godâs commands and wanted to manage his own affairs at the very beginning of time, there are three things that God could have done:
1. Changed His laws to accommodate sin; but this would have been contrary to His unchanging nature, for He is a God that changes not.
2. Destroyed man and started creation all over again; but this would have been inimical to His mercy and cause the rest of the universe to worship Him from fear rather than committed love.
3. Sent a member of the Godhead, who is equal to the law, to satisfy the demands of the broken law, by paying the price with His own life, thus making it possible for man to be reconciled back to the Father.
The latter is what Jesus did when He divested Himself of divinity and came in human flesh, born as a babe in a stable, grew up to love His Father, lived a sinless life and of His own volition, subjected Himself to human mistreatment and death, so as to bridge the chasm between eternal separation and eternal living. Jesus has gone back to heaven and is preparing for a global evacuation of all His loyal, obedient children, whether dead or alive, from this sin-laden, torn-apart, crime-infested planet, to take them to live with Him in paradise. Friends, this is the story of Christmas that we need to tell and model to our children.
Christmas is not just a time for festivity and merrymaking. It is more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving. The best gift of life cannot be bought during a shopping spree or be found under a Christmas tree. The best things in life cannot be found in alcohol consumption, drugs and other forms of substance abuse. The best value to life cannot be found in promiscuous lifestyles or excessive feasting. The Man that the world needs most today, at this Christmas season is still Jesus, the Christ whom we profess to celebrate, who understands our deficits, can heal our hurts, bind up our wounds and bring lasting peace in the midst of human brokenness.
As we reflect upon this dying year 2017, we might have been battered and bruised in diverse ways, disappointed and distressed to the core, but our past mistakes arenât as important as our present choices. Manâs greatest tragedy is not slipping and falling, but rather remaining in his fallen state and thinking a defeat is the end of the road. No matter how challenged or overwhelmed we might have been with the pressures of daily living or the numerous mistakes we might have made in finding meaning to our existence, the Good News this Christmas season is that there is still hope for everyone, made possible through the merits of Jesus Christ, who unquestionably loves us just as we are, while hating the sin that is in us.
A New Year is upon us. God has the ideal plan for our future. Christmas says that God can be trusted. He has our best interests at heart. The only thing that matters is that we accept Him as Lord and Master of our lives and follow Him, who is Truth and Righteousness, for the rest of our days. âIn this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and give Himself to be the propitiation for our sins.â 1 John 4:10. Faith makes all things possible, Hope makes all things work and Love makes all things beautiful. May we have all three powerful Christian values this Christmas and beyond, as we take the omnipotent hand of the Lord and write a new page in our personal story. The best gift that we can give to the next generation is to teach them by precept and example the true meaning of Christmas.
On behalf of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, I wish the Government and people of St Vincent and the Grenadines a joyful, peaceful, wonderful festive holiday season and a bright, prosperous, enterprising New Year.