Christmas is a few days away and it got me thinking.
What does Christmas mean to you?
For me, it has always meant a lot, it meant and still means everything. It means a celebration of a birth, a life, a saviour of the world of one of the most influential person that has ever walked this earth.
Does Christmas mean everything to you too? What does it mean to you?
Or is it just about getting together with friends and families and drinking, eating and merry-making? Or is it about present giving and Santa Claus? There’s a few sitting under our Christmas tree. Or is it about being alone? What does Christmas mean to you?
Like I said, for me, Christmas means everything – it means LIFE.
It is a beginning and it is an end.
It is a time of chaos and a time of order.
It is a time of darkness and a time of light.
It is a time of reflection and a time of hope.
It is a time of aloneness and a time of interaction.
It is a time of blessed relief and imagining and believing all of God’s promises manifest itself in to that one person – Jesus Christ.
Amongst all the chaos and loudness and joyousness of the Christmas period, take a moment or two if you can to try and imagine what it was like for this little baby that was born in to poverty. This little baby that we all believe was and is the saviour of the world.
A little baby called Jesus.
Imagine what the conditions were like during the time of his birth. There might have only been one candle inside the stable. Today, Christmas, like Diwali in the hindu calendar is a celebration of light and you don’t need to look very hard to see it before your eyes in your own neighbourhood – beautifully designed lighting on houses and buildings.
Many people today associate Christmas being filled with the ones you love with lots of noise and laughter. Wonderful version of the truth.
When Jesus was born, I imagine the place located on a hill outside Jerusalem would have wreaked with loneliness. So, for those of you that may feel a sense of loneliness during this time and in particular, on Christmas day don’t be. You’re not alone, you have good company. Jesus too was very lonely at birth.
Jesus’s birth certainly wasn’t in luxury. You could imagine the toughness and roughness of the trough that he laid in. The trough or what was a similar to a modern-day baby cot, he felt at birth may have been as cruel a place as the cross he felt at his death. The end was like the beginning for Jesus. What will your end be like?
What about his first gasp for air? What about his first few cries, what would they have been like to welcome in to this world? I imagine that his infant cries we may have heard coming from stable may have been no less desperate and heart-piercing than his final cry on the cross. I wonder if some of the shouts and yells on Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations this year will be for the pain our saviour cried out over during his arrival and departure from this world. Our world, the world he came to save.
So, what is Christmas to you?
Celebrate? You say. Yes, of course, I say. Celebrate and be merry!
But if you have a little time, try to … imagine and … project yourself back to that lonely stable and try to imagine celebrating, most heartily with food and wine and dance amidst the stench of the stable. Do you know what that dung-like smell that existed in that little stable could represent today? It could represent the refuse of the world – the ugliness, the hatred, the selfishness, the rubbish.
And when you hope for a better New Year, try imagining celebrating at the foot of that painful cross. And why do I leave you with that ghastly image – not to sound negative, but to point out that that image of us at the foot of that cross is the one and only thing that really keeps that ‘life force’ lit in you for yet another day.
Do you know what that life force is? It is that image that epitomises the whole foundation of Christianity and the whole reason we have Christmas. That image of us Christians at the foot of his cross is the ending and the beginning. It is our belief – our hope. It is the essence of what it means to be a Christian. The unwavering belief and hope that that little baby boy born in to poverty and rejected by many, died for all our sins.
Hope – that is all that we are and all that we will ever truly have within us for as long as we are alive.
Christmas for Christians is the celebration of the saviour of the world! Believe. Really believe. There is a passage that has always stayed with me since my youth:
“Ask and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find.” Achieve your salvation at Christmas, through Jesus – our saviour.
From me to you – Merry Christmas.
Imagine then. Live and be ALIVE now. Imagine and hope for a better future. A better YOU.
Until next time,