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The gift of Christmas

The gift of Christmas

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23.DEC.10

by Rev Amos A. Dennie
Moderator of Evangelical Churches of the West Indies

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Cyrenius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered everyone in his own city.{{more}}

Joseph also went up to Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his wife, who was with child.

So it was while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no ROOM FOR HIM IN THE INN.

Why do we celebrate Jesus’ birthday so differently than other birthdays? When it’s time to honor historical figures who have a day set aside for them, we don’t think about them as babies. We don’t have pictures of cute little Abraham Lincoln in his log cabin in Kentucky or Chatoyer on his mat in loin cloth. No we remember them for their contribution as an adult.

For Jesus, though, it is proper that today we celebrate him as a child. Think about it. When he was born, shepherds came to honor him (Luke 2:15-16). Later, Wise men brought him gifts (Mt 2:8-12). These people had no idea what Christ will eventually accomplish. But they were right in doing what they did, because Jesus’ birth was the most remarkable event in human history.

Jesus as a baby was remarkable because he was God in human form. He was the creator of the universe visiting this planet. Never shrink from celebrating this baby at Christmas. Marvel at his incarnation, and stand in awe of a wiggly baby who had created his worshippers. Then step back in wonder, for the story gets better. This divine baby grew into a perfect man who willingly died for your sins and mine. Celebrate the baby, but trust the Savior. That’s how we make Christmas complete.

As the poem suggests: ‘How wonderful that we on Christmas morn, though centuries have passed since Christ was born, may worship still the Living Lord of men Our Savior, Jesus, Babe of Bethlehem.”

A wise man today will bow not only at the manger, but also at the cross.

NO ROOM ONLY A MANGER OF HAY. As a father responsible for the well being of my family, I imagine how frustrated and discouraged Joseph would have felt, but think of Mary, how much worse it must have been for her when they arrived in Bethlehem and found no room available. I can imagine Joseph’s pleading with the manager of the inn telling him of Mary’s condition and their desperate need for a place where she could give birth to her child. But there was NO ROOM for them in the inn (Luke 2:7). Today, 2010 years later, millions of people have no room for Jesus. Although they participate enthusiastically in the festivity of the Christmas season, they keep him out of their lives.

As we celebrate Christmas 2010, I feel obligated to remind the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and by extension every one who reads this message that Christmas is not a time for reveling and drunkenness, but a time for sober reflection of our relationship with the Father make possible through the Son.

The question is, does it make sense to celebrate his birth in a manner that dishonors him? The obvious answer is NO, and yet years after, many people continue to make the same mistake. What’s the matter with us as a people?

How could we only believe in the gift of Christmas, as a historical fact? The fact of the matter is, an intellectual belief in the gift of Christmas is truly the first step in a series of steps to complete the process of experiencing the peace, hope and joy the Christ of Christmas came to give to the world.

In order to grasp the true meaning of Christmas, two fundamental observations must be made.

1. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is God’s gift of reassurance and hope. It was there at the center page of history that shepherds watching over their flocks by night found their darkness shattered by light. There they found their own thoughts replaced by the voice of an angel saying: 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 a sign to you; you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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 towards men. (Luke 2 10-14)

2. The fulfillment of the angel’s announcement changed the course of history. Today, even in the middle of our own conflict and fear, the Savior who was born still offers his presence and his peace to all who know him and take quiet moments to think about him. Never have there been a greater gift than the gift of God Himself gave to us that first Christmas morning. How is your relationship to him? If Christ is kept on the outside, there is something wrong on the inside.

On behalf of the Evangelical Churches of the West Indies (SVG) Let me take this opportunity to wish the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines a very blessed Christmas and a new year of joy, hope and peace.

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