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Christmas Message: By Bishop Sonny E. Williams – Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies

It is often said that everyone sees the world through different eyes, or everyone sees what he or she wants to see. We could be experiencing the same thing but how we see it depends on our perspective.{{more}}

It’s like a story I recently read of six blind men who were asked to describe an elephant. One man goes up to the side of the beast and feels its flank. He describes the elephant as a wall. A second blind man walks up to the elephant and grabs its smooth sharp tusk and says it is a spear. A third man approaches the elephant and happens to grasp its trunk. He describes the elephant as a snake. The fourth man feels the elephant’s leg and likens the beast to a tree. The fifth man touches the ear and it reminds him of a fan and the sixth grabs the tail and is convinced that the animal is like a rope. Astonishingly, one elephant, six men and six different definitions. It’s all about perspectives.

Is this the reason why we have different definitions of Christmas? Athos and Coffey feel that a person’s behaviour is a result of the way he or she perceives him or herself and the world around him or her.

To many business folks Christmas may mean the most lucrative business period of the year. The housewives may eagerly anticipate this time due to the attractive deals on household items. To workers, it might just mean that bonus that is so desperately needed to balance that over stretched budget. To others it may mean that time of the year when, after many months of toil, you treat yourself with gifts and food items that the average man cannot regularly afford. To the environmentally conscious, it may mean the most esthetically satisfying time, when communities and homes are given that needed face-lift. To the children it may be the most joyous festival when Santa brings them that desired toy. To the fun lovers, Christmas may mean nine-mornings, carolling and feting. Sadly, to some, it means overspending, gluttony and drunkenness.

One’s perception of Christmas can be influenced by needs, motives, attitudes values and experiences, such as childhood memories and family traditions. One’s perception is not necessarily accurate, it is the picture he constructs through his own “pair of glasses” and to him it is at that point true, and influences his behaviour.

While we need to respect and appreciate the different definitions or interpretations of Christmas we must acknowledge that these can be quite different from the reality. The reality is that Christmas is a commemoration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet Isaiah capsules this reality:

For unto us a child is born,

Unto us a son is given:

and the government shall be upon his shoulders

And his name shall be called

Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father,

The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)

May the Christ of Christmas find room in the various ways that we celebrate Christmas.

The Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies wishes all a Christ Centred Christmas. May the season be characterized by peace and tranquillity.

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