TODAY IS CHRISTMAS DAY and we celebrate the mystery of incarnation – the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ. But the wonder of wonders is that God has not only shared our human flesh through Jesus Christ but is with us (Emmanuel).
God who is the source and the expression of the entire creation became human through the little child that was “wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk. 2: 12). Through the little child God’s humble entry into this world was manifested.
God’s entry was unnoticed but it brought the message of redemption and salvation for the human race. Our task during this Christmas Season therefore is to prayerfully reflect on peace, love, unity and healing – the very centre of the message of Christmas.
The incarnation is God’s own initiative. Because of that we cannot sell the message of Christmas. The secular society has commercialised Christmas. But as Christians we know the message of Christmas is free for the human race.
We thank God for what 2014 has been to us. For God’s providence through the resources of the land and sea and for things we have received and shared including joys and sorrows. For achievements we thank God. For failures, we pray for guidance.
We thank God for the Tenth Parliament. It was encouraging to hear some members contributing constructively in the last Parliament Meeting. We pray that they know that they are legislators and not procurement officers for solar lighting, housing materials, canoes, engines, chainsaws etc.
And we pray for the people to respect the parliamentarians, including their living quarters and to give them time and space.
For our nation we pray for political stability, economic recovery and proper maintenance of law and order. May God help us to refrain from corruption and other improper acts of justice.
In John’s gospel Jesus is referred to as the ‘Word.’ “The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son.”(Jn. 1: 14)
i. The Word Grace means God came into this world to live and died for us. It is God’s act that we do not deserve but it reflects God’s love for humanity.
ii. Truth – The embodiment of the truth is Jesus. For he said, “I am the truth” (Jn.14:6). To see the truth we look at Jesus.
Jesus did not come only to talk about God. He came to show people what God was like. Jesus is the communicator of the truth. He told his disciples, “if you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples, you will know the truth.” (Jn. 8: 31). Jesus meant those who continue to be with him would know the truth.
He said to Pilate, “You say that I am a King. I was born and came into this world for one purpose, to speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me.” (Jn. 18: 37). He is saying his mission was to witness to the truth.
Jesus also said, “The truth will set you free.” (Jn. 8: 32). The truth of Jesus can free us from fear, frustration, weakness and defeat - the greatest liberator in this world.
We need to show truth in our lives. Jesus said, “... those who do what is true must come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.” (Jn. 3: 21). The truth must be known by the mind, accepted by the heart and demonstrated in our lives.
iii. Glory – Jesus Christ was the manifestation of glory. When Jesus performed the first miracle of turning water into wine in Cana of Galilee John said, “... he performed his glory and his disciples believed in him.” (Jn. 2: 11).
The glory that Jesus manifests is the glory of God. Jesus’ glory was not from people. As he said, “I am not looking for human praise.” (Jn. 5: 41). In Jesus we see the glory and love of God.
The author of Hebrews says “in the past God spoke to our ancestors many times and in many different ways through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son. He is the one through whom God created the universe, the one whom God has chosen to possess all things at the end. He reflects the brightness of God’s glory and is the exact likeness of God’s own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word.”(Heb. 1: 1-3)
Hebrews says the prophets only talked about one aspect of God. But now God is speaking to us through Jesus and he is telling us about the complete truth of God.
Let us look at the following prophets:
i. Prophet Amos was preaching about social justice. He was concerned about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The issues that we are grappling with today are the issues that Amos was concerned about eight centuries before Christ. The poor and the ordinary people were innocent victims of injustice and oppression and religious practices and observances were insincere and hypocritical.
ii. Isaiah preached about the holiness of God. In clear words Isaiah called on the people and their leaders to live a righteous life based on justice and holiness. To disobey God would mean doom and destruction.
iii. Hosea had experienced a disastrous marriage to an unfaithful woman Gomer. However, in the end God’s constant love for his people prevails. Hosea’s message about God is forgiveness and love.
However, in the coming of Christ the different aspects of God are harmonised and manifested as one complete truth.
Christmas therefore is about the virtues of justice, righteousness, holiness, obedience, forgiveness, hope and love.
May it be your task and my task to show in our lives these important virtues during this Festive Season of Christmasand always. Amen