Christmas Messages
December 22, 2017
The meaning and purpose of the Christmas season

At the first Christmas there were no carols or serenading, no Christmas trees or decorations, no Christmas lights, no sorrel and ginger beer, no black cake, roast beef or ham, no parang or Nine Morning festival, no changing of curtains and furniture, no Christmas sales or bargains, no barrels or parcels.

People went about their business and day-to-day activities as they were accustomed. It was in the midst of social, political, economic and religious challenges, in the stillness of the night, in a lonely place, the Christ child was born. Luke, the gospel writer, expresses it in Luke Chapter 2:8-20.

As we reflect on the first Christmas, there is a sense that the Apostles, gospel writers and early Church were convinced that God enters into human experience and history to carry out God’s mission in the world. They believed that the main focus of this mission is the salvation of the world, which has been revealed through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Consequently, those who believe and trust in him, those who are his disciples are called to participate in this mission and to make disciples.

As we participate in this mission, it is important to note that it is God who creates the opportunities, and who provides the avenues and openings through which we faithfully engage in ministry and carry out God’s mission.

The various amenities, features, niceties, attractions, festivities and services, which now form part of the way in which we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the Christ-child have all helped to give expression to our identification and responsiveness to the meaning and purpose of the Christmas season. In the midst of advancing, promoting and expanding these expressions, we need to reflect on the truth of Christmas, as presented to us by the Apostles, gospel writers and early Church.

Matthew 1:18-21 expresses the love of God for his creation of which human beings are a part. For, in spite of us frail creatures putting ourselves in the place of God and by so doing have spoilt, destroyed and endangered the paradise, of which God had given humankind dominion, yet God chose to redeem and save us rather than bestowing his wrath upon us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Christmas is a season of love, giving and sharing and also of forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace. It is a season which Christians celebrate once a year, to emphasize and reinforce the need for people to change their mindset from following and succumbing to worldly influences and passions and to acknowledge their need of a saviour who is Jesus Christ. The spirit of love, joy, fellowship, sharing and caring, especially for those who are less fortunate than ourselves, is one which must permeate our lives. Christmas calls us to make this a way of life, not only during this season, but always, for Christ’s work of salvation has no limits.

Let us this Christmas individually and collectively reflect on ways in which we have been giving ourselves to the ways of Jesus Christ: saying sorry and apologizing to husband, wife, companion, child, friend, co-worker when we are wrong; treating our children and spouse with love and respect; embracing, befriending and assisting those of a different political persuasion; showing appreciation to dedicated employees; sharing profits with them. Forgiving someone who has betrayed us; spending quality time with family; doing good to those who have hurt us; counselling, correcting or mentoring a young man/woman who consistently makes wrong choices, or who is planning some evil; promoting and facilitating programmes and activities which foster and cultivate skills that enhance peaceful conflict resolution; being a part of and participating in the activities of a community/church group which works for the advancement, protection, well-being and development of people and the environment; advocating for someone who has been treated shamefully; ensuring that we don’t encroach on our neighbour’s property; worshipping with fellow Christians regularly, week by week or more often, according to opportunity, and studying the Holy Scriptures.

The first Christmas had no carols or serenading; no Christmas tree or decorations; no Christmas lights; no sorrel and ginger beer; no black cake, roast beef or ham; no parang or Nine Mornings festival; no changing of curtains and furniture; no Christmas sales or bargains; no barrels or parcels. These add-ons, trimmings and embellishments have their place, and we must ensure that they do not overshadow the main focus and meaning of Christmas.

“‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’” (Matthew 1:20-21)

The SVG Christian Council takes this opportunity to wish you a Blessed and Holy Christmas.