Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Blesings

Time flies and Christmas is here again. Although there is a huge contrast in celebrating Christmas here in Canada and the Philippines nevertheless, the reason is the same: Jesus coming to the world 2,000 years ago. This is the main reason that we should celebrate it in the first place: He came. And to fully understand its significance to humanity, we should go back to the beginning or its origin. Why do we celebrate Christmas? Is it a time to indulge in shopping extravaganza? Is it just to buy and exchange gifts? Another holiday excuse to rest and take the time off? All of what I mentioned is what transpires in celebrating Christmas every year. However, it should not be the main focus. Christianity has Christmas in order to celebrate the coming of the Messiah Jesus in this world.Historically, Christmas was done to become an alternative to a pagan holiday coinciding during winter season and it was an intention well thought of. Every aspect of this pagan holiday was altered to reflect the greater meaning of Christmas. On the other hand, the early church in the New Testament does not celebrate Christmas or the birthday of Jesus but instead his death, burial and resurrection. No matter what the reason maybe, Christmas must became an opportunity for hope and love to abound. This is the time that families get together; generosity becomes the norm of the season; friends celebrate to enjoy each others company. Altogether, there is something about Christmas that anyone wants to be part of. There is probably the negative side of being stressed on what to buy and what to give our loved ones and friends but this is what makes Christmas fun and enjoyable. How to avoid stress? Just go out there and give what you believe will be acceptable as the best gift in your own opinion. (A special note to those who will receive, don’t criticize what you will get. Just express your gratitude towards the giver and smile when you open the gift and enjoy it just the same as the giver hopes that you will do).

What makes Christmas such an important holiday for Christians? When you come to take a hard look at its meaning you will find that humility is at the core that made it all happen. Humility was the key attitude of the main characters of Christmas and they showed it when the opportunity came to them. When greeted by the angel Gabriel and told of the news of her pregnancy through the Holy Spirit, her immediate action was fear yet she was assured as recorded in Luke 1:30-33; 38, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Her reply was, "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said…"(NIV) Even Joseph, Mary’s fiancĂ© after hearing her pregnancy initially decided to break off their engagement honorably was visited by an angel in his dream explaining God’s plan and upon knowing it withdrew his plan. His next action and immediate response was definite and calculated as described in Matthew 1:24, “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” (NIV) But the most important action was done by Jesus above all as described in Phil 2:5-8, ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself.” NIV

Humility is setting aside what you believe by allowing God to change your desire towards His desire for your life. Therefore, humility is at the core of Christmas. It was the foundational principle of this season and all Christmas blessings we enjoy today emanated from this attitude. In the 21st century, how are we going to apply humility? The answer is clear; adopting a mind-set of humility will clarify our intentions in all our activities. It is the intention of being a blessing this Christmas. It must become the hallmark of our actions. To bless others must be the battle cry for us who are able to do so. Mary, Joseph and Jesus became the Christmas blessings for humanity when they humbled themselves to obey God’s plan. What then will be your Christmas blessing to others this Christmas? You need to think for a while and come up with a list. It should be intentional not incidental blessings. If you are looking for an opportunity to genuinely bless and become a blessing to others, Christmas is an excellent occasion to begin.

Merry Christmas to all!

Let’s talk again!