Pastoral Perspectives

The Reason For Christmas

We had just ended our camping trip last Saturday and I told myself that I am not camping in December anymore because it rains and rains and rains. But what do you expect in December? Huh, it was also not difficult to know why we were spending our time at the shopping mall hiding from the rain because Christmas is around the corner. It was wet and miserable out there but inside the shopping mall, it was filled with the Christmas mood that you can even smell “Christmas” in the air with the sight of turkeys and the hams on display. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the Christmas decoration in the office, the twinkling lights in and outside our HDB flat, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends and shouts of “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?

For some people, Christmas can be a time of sadness. For they might not have the extra money to buy presents for their children. Some might have even lost their job. Some are sad during Christmas when they think of their loved ones who are away for various reasons or have passed on. Turkey dinners may only be a wish and not a reality for some family as well.

However, Christmas can be a season of great joy. It is a time when God shows His great love for us. It can be a time of healing and renewed strength. You see, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Christ. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. They knew that this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. So what is the purpose of Christ’s Birth? Paul wrote this in Galatians 4:4–5

4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Let put our attention on verse 5. We need to understand the meaning and background of the Apostle’s words here. By “redeem,” Paul was thinking of the act of rescuing, releasing and delivering from slavery through the payment of a price. Probably Paul had in mind the story of Israel’s redemption from the Egyptian. Israel was delivered from God’s judgment of the firstborn in the land of Egypt because they offered the Passover lamb as Moses instructed.

Thankfully, Christ’s redemption is greater than that of Moses. Israel’s deliverance from Egypt demonstrated the Good News totally revealed in Christ. He came as the true Israel and the greater Passover Lamb. He poured Himself out in death for His people and thereby brought about the new spiritual exodus from slavery in Satan’s kingdom. Christ’s redemption goes beyond that of the Law of Moses and brings the forgiveness of sins. This means the sinners are released from legal liability to endure the punishment that sin and its guilt requires.

According to Paul, after redemption we are adopted as sons. We need again to appreciate the significance of Paul’s term here.  Adoption was introduced in Roman law and widely practiced in Roman’s life.  When a son was adopted, he was in all legal aspects equal with those born into his new family. The adopted son had the same family name, the same inheritance, the same standing, and the same rights as the natural-born sons.

To appreciate the stunning reality of our adoption as heirs in the household of God, we need to know how God views us before our adoption. According to Eph. 2:2-3, we were children of disobedience and were by nature children of wrath. The point is, in adoption, the Father gives the full rights and privileges that belong to His own Son to those who were neither His children nor His heirs by nature and birth.

Christ was sent to redeem us. It brought salvation to all of us. Without Christ, we would all die in our sins. Because of that we can truly be happy at Christmas! No matter what had happened or may be happening, we can know that we are His children.

Christ Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!

One of the best ways Christians can celebrate the true meaning of Christmas is to find ways to practice the principle that says it’s better to give than to receive. Let us pass the joy of Christmas and the blessing that we have received to others by taking time to bless them with the blessing that we received from God. Volunteering to help the less fortunate is also a great way to start.

For 25 years, the Boys’ Brigade has been seeking to bring cheers to the less fortunate by collecting food and household items and fulfilling Christmas wishes of the beneficiaries through The Boys’ Brigade Share-a-Gift.  These gift items reach out to some 6,500 households who are receiving assistance from Government-funded ComCare programmes and from 173 Voluntary Welfare Organisations.

You can be involved in this project and bring blessing to someone this Christmas!

Blessed Christmas!

For more information on Boys’ Brigade Share A Gift please visit http://www.bbshare.sg/


Preacher Alvin Lim

December 23, 2012