Year after year, we get to mark the 25th of December as Christmas Day. It often goes with fanfare, festivals, celebrations of different kinds, gift church services, and so on.
These are good. But it is possible to get lost in the jamboree and forget the essence of it all. Why do we celebrate Christmas? Who is the object of all the activities? What is the ideal way to celebrate Christmas? If you don’t answer these questions satisfactorily, you will miss the very reason for the season and move along with the crowd aimlessly.
There have been arguments about the appropriateness of celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December. But that is not the matter for today. What is important is that on a certain day, God was born human on earth to save mankind from the bondage of sin and Satan’s stranglehold. That day is a day worth remembering and celebrating.
Over centuries, people have erroneously tagged Christmas as a Christian holiday, meaning that it is strictly for Christians. This is far from the truth. What we celebrate at Christmas is God’s gift of His only begotten Son to all of mankind. The book of John chapter three verse 16, says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The gift was to the whole world. Everyone is a potential beneficiary of the gift that was delivered on Christmas day, through a virgin’s womb. So, everyone should celebrate.
In the story of the birth of Jesus recorded in Luke chapter two verses eight to 14, the angel made it clear that the glad tidings he brought were for all people: Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Jesus came for everyone. The Bible says whoever believes will receive the gift of eternal life, which is in Jesus Christ. So, this Christmas is another opportunity for you to go beyond giving and receiving gifts from family and friends and maybe from Santa Claus and move on to receive this precious gift from God, His only begotten Son. All God is asking you to do is: believe in Jesus and accept Him as your Lord and saviour.
Receiving Jesus into your heart in this season will be profound and symbolic of what happened when He was born. The Bible says Joseph, and Mary, who was due, went around Bethlehem looking for an inn to lodge in and deliver baby Jesus. “And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke chapter two, verses six and seven. You can make room in your heart and become born again in this season. That is the best way to maximise this Christmas.
God’s desire has always been to be with mankind. Jesus was called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us”. Jesus’ birth and His eventual death on the cross made it possible for us to be saved from sin and for God to be with us.
It is said that the popular Christmas song “Joy to the World” by Isaac Watts, which many people sing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, His first coming, was never intended to be a Christmas song. Watts wrote the poem based on Psalm 98, which speaks of the second coming of the Lord. The psalm makes reference to the Lord judging the world: “Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvellous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it! Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.”
What you do with Christmas, His first coming will determine your fate in His second coming. Make your celebration meaningful by mending your relationship with God. Merry Christmas.
Reverend Austin Ukporhe is the Point Man (Resident Pastor) at Remnant Christian Network, Lagos. Raised in Sokoto, northern Nigeria, he was trained in peculiar firebrand evangelism and was ordained as a pastor in 2001. He has experienced countless and diverse workings of the faithfulness of God over two decades and has developed a passion to see God’s will for Nigeria become a reality. He can be reached on +2348060255604.