Pastoral Perspectives

A Different Christmas!

Is this year’s Christmas going to be different for you?  How can you make it different from previous years which you have known or celebrated?  This year’s Christmas can be different if you deliberately choose to make it different.  This is how I choose to make this year’s Christmas different.  This year, I deliberately choose my Care Group (CG) Christmas celebration to be held at my mother-in-law’s place.  I want to let my mother-in-law to have the delight of Christmas in her house seen through the joy of celebration reflected by my CG members.  Last Saturday, 17 Dec, my CG had the CG Christmas celebration held at my mother-in-law’s place and we had 21 adults and 6 children attended.  I could see the delight in my mother-in- law’s face.  There is still another way to make this year’s Christmas different.  It is to re-visit the birth of Jesus and learn precious lessons from it.  A song rings in my ear that goes like this:

“Christmas isn’t Christmas ’till it happens in your heart,

Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts;

So give your heart to Jesus, you’ll discover when you do

That it’s Christmas, really Christmas for you.

Jesus brings warmth like a winter’s fire, a light like a candle’s glow;

He is waiting now to come inside as he did so long ago.

Jesus brings gifts of truth and life and makes them bloom and grow.

So welcome Him with a song of joy and when He comes you’ll know…that…

Christmas isn’t Christmas ’till it happens in your heart,

Somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts;

So give your heart to Jesus, you’ll discover when you do

That it’s Christmas, really Christmas for you.”

This song reminds me how Christmas really meant to me once I know the true meaning of Christmas.  Christmas brings us back to the birth of Jesus.

The birth of Jesus is no ordinary birth but extra-ordinary.  It involves a virgin named Mary who was pledged to be married to Joseph who belonged to the house and line of David.  In Luke 1:26–38, the angel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary.  The birth of Jesus is unique.  In Luke 1:35, it is written: “The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’”  The angel was answering Mary’s question, “How will this be since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)  In Luke 2:1–20, the angel was announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.  You must be wondering why the angel has to announce it to the shepherds.  The reason for announcing it to the shepherds is likely because the shepherds have a wider contact of people.  They would, first of all, spread the news among themselves and then to many people.  Soon, all the people in the land would have heard about it.  A great company of the heavenly host appeared and was praising God together with the angel who earlier announced the news to the shepherds.  The announcement of the birth of Jesus is considered a piece of Good News.  Why is it considered “a piece of Good News”?  It is considered “a piece of Good News” because the birth of Jesus brings great joy to all the people of the Earth.

This Good News brings great joy to all the people of the Earth because the promised Saviour, Jesus, has been born to save the people from their sinful condition.  Jesus is Christ the Lord, the Anointed One, who comes from Heaven to Earth.  The birth of Jesus brings glory to God and brings God’s favour to men on Earth.  God’s favour enables men to experience peace.  The Good News for us is that all men will now be able to have peace with God through His Son, Jesus.  At the birth of Jesus, there are great joy and great amazement.  All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  Indeed, this child is not an ordinary child but extra-ordinary.  His birth is extra-ordinary too.  Why did Jesus come to this Earth?  Jesus came to this Earth to reconcile men to God, to rescue men from their helpless and hopeless condition, to redeem men from their slavery to sins and to restore men to a right relationship with God.  The birth of Jesus, indeed, brings great joy and rejoicing.  The heavenly host with the angel who brought the Good News of the birth of Jesus was praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  The birth of Jesus also brings peace and great amazement to all the people of the Earth.  The birth of Jesus is truly a piece of Good News for the whole world to hear.  Thus, the birth of Jesus is to be spread around and to be treasured.

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Mary could not help but in her heart, pondered over all these things which were happening so wonderfully.  The shepherds too could not keep quiet about the Good News which they had heard.  They too, after the angels had left them, went to Bethlehem to see for themselves all these things which were told them.  They saw and they became effective witnesses of what they had seen.  They spread this Good News around and those who heard it were amazed.  The birth of Jesus should motivate us to do something.  It should cause us to do something different this Christmas.  This Christmas, we can make it different from other Christmas which we have experienced.  This Christmas, how different would you want it to be?  You can treasure the truth of the birth of Jesus in your heart.  You can invite Jesus to be your personal Saviour to save you from your sins if you have not done so.  You can, then, share it with those who have yet to know the purpose of the birth of Jesus.  You can decide to live your life differently from now onwards, that is, to live a life which will glorify God in all that you say, you do and you think.  You can choose to have a deep relationship with Jesus through making a firm decision on spending more time with Jesus through reading His Word, the Bible, and praying to Him.  You can set aside 15 minutes daily to read the Bible and another 15 minutes to pray to Jesus.  You can make this Christmas really DIFFERENT!

I wish all of you “A Blessed Christmas”!

Preacher George Ang

December 25, 2011