Christmas, the story of the birth of Christ is a great reminder that “the ways of God are not the ways of man”. By human standards, Christ should have been born in a palace or into a plush prominent family and not in a manger among sheep. For Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords to come into this world the manner He did is a great lesson point for Christians as we celebrate Christmas.
“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.”
Jesus’ birth was so ordinary it would not make the headlines today just as it didn’t then. Why didn’t it? As humans, we are hardly impressed by common and ordinary things. We are moved by the spectacular. But our Saviour, the King of kings and the Lord of lords came in an unassuming fashion, “wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” With the knowledge of the humble conditions surrounding Jesus’ birth, what would you do if Jesus came to town this Christmas? At this time of the year when preparations are at fever pitch, it is highly possible to miss the center of the season–Jesus Christ. It is possible to have a celebration without the chief guest.
Christmas is about Jesus and we cannot separate the celebrations from His person. That will be a contradiction. As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we must not lose sight of the significance. The celebration of Christmas can often times be about a lot of things, except for the real reason. Amidst the celebrations and fanfare, it is possible to lose the true meaning of the season. The story of Christmas is one where the King of the universe took on the form of a humble servant to rescue people who have rebelled against him, the righteous for the unrighteousness that he might bring us to God. It is a story of unfathomable grace shown to underserving people like us. It is the kind of love that transforms those who have truly experienced it into agents of love.
As we keep Christ the real reason for the season in view, we will become like him in how we love the unlovable. It was while we were still sinners that Christ died for our sins. It wasn’t because we deserved it, it was rather the opposite. This Christmas look out for the needy and the broken around you and lavish on them the love God showed you through Christ. It is very easy and tempting to love only the people who are like yourself, but don’t give in. As we celebrate the love of God through Christ, may we extend also the same love to the underprivileged amongst us.
A glimpse into the future coming Judgement, gives us a picture of what God expects of us in this season and beyond:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:31-38).
Good deeds done in the name of Jesus for the people of God are done for God. Therefore as you send out your invitation to friends and family this Christmas, make sure Jesus is invited too through reaching out to the less privileged. Our world and our churches are filled with the needy and broken, some work in the same office with us, others stay in our neighbourhoods, and others sit on the same pew in church.