EBC CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
Every year, around the world, people celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, 25 December.
It's a day – and season – filled with Christmas carols, tree decorating, gift-giving and parties. Amongst all the celebrations we need to take time to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas.
Our lives, country and world are far from perfect. There are always challenges and struggles we face both personally and collectively. The good news of Christmas is that even when the world or our circumstances change – the message of Christmas is timeless.
Christmas is about the birth of God’s Son – Jesus. It is about how He came to give us love, hope and joy.
That message doesn’t change from year to year. When there is so much bad news and devastation in the world, this is good news worth celebrating!
The meaning of Christmas is good news for all people.
When the time came for Mary to give birth to Jesus, she had to travel to Bethlehem. There were no guest rooms available for Mary and Joseph, so she gave birth in a stable or barn, and laid Jesus in a manger.
There was no royal welcome in a palace for Jesus, the Son of God. Instead, on the night of his birth, he was sleeping rough. He was probably surrounded by animals – not royal attendants.
As he grew, Jesus experienced persecution, loneliness, grief, hunger, anger and more. He came into the world to live as a human amongst people and understand their joys and their struggles.
Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew chapter 1: verse 23, NIV Bible), is another name for Jesus. His birth and life is a message of good news for us because it means we are never alone.
It doesn’t matter how hard or hopeless our situation, God is there for us. We don’t have to journey through our challenges and struggles alone. He understands them.
He shares them as He walks alongside us.
On the night Jesus was born, the angel said to a group of shepherds:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke chapter 2: verse 10, NIV Bible).
This well-known Bible verse brings such an encouraging message to all of us at Christmas.
It is one of joy – because Jesus comforts and encourages us.
One of hope – because we are never alone; God is always with us.
And one of inclusivity – because it is for all of us.
Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ is more than a Christian holiday or Christian festival.
It is more than an occasion to decorate our houses.
It is an opportunity to pause and give thanks for the love, hope and joy found in Jesus – our Saviour and friend.
As we exchange gifts with loved ones, it is out of remembrance of the gift God gave us in Jesus.
The gift that we are loved, are never alone and can have hope for the future.
After Jesus was born, a small group of wise men visited him. They recognised the kingship of Jesus and they “worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
You, too, can offer up your worship and thanks to God through prayers this Christmas.
Prayers of thanksgiving for the gift of hope, love and joy.
Your Christmas this year might look different to previous years. It may not match up to the commercial images you see or hopes you have. But the true meaning of Christmas doesn’t depend on the number of gifts under a tree or the type of food on your table.
The message of Christmas doesn’t change if you are surrounded by family, missing loved ones for the first time or on your own. It is not affected by the house you live in – or don’t live in.
The birth of Jesus brings God's love to everyone.
You are not alone.
You are loved, and you can feel hopeful and joyful.
That is the true meaning of Christmas.
May God bless you this Christmas and always, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour. May His peace and love surround you and your loved ones. May you feel God's presence in the candles that softly spread their light and glow at Christmas and may you experience the wonder of His abiding love as He guides you through each day of the coming year.
May God's Blessings be with you this Christmas time!
Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful year to come.