BC families have been blessed with a bumper crop of babies in the recent months. These little bundles of joy bring tremendous excitement and sense of fulfillment to young couples who were married in the last few years. Their child’s arrival is seen as a new dawn of era, a ray of radiant hope and future, and rightly so.
In two days, the world will again commemorate the anniversary of Christmas, when the angels waited in anticipation to break forth in praise and worship and adoration at the birth of the newborn Christ some 2000 years ago. This child’s birth meant deliverance for mankind. The angel told Joseph: He will save his people from their sins (Matt 1.21).
Unlike Isaac, who ascended Mt Moriah unaware that he was to be the sacrifice, Jesus descended from heaven in full awareness of what the Father had in store for Him. When He comes into the world, the writer of Hebrews recorded:
Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure.” Then I said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God. (Hebrews 10:5-7)
He knew He was entering the world to be the final and ultimate sacrifice for man’s sin. His body had been divinely prepared by God specifically for that purpose. Jesus came to earth, of course, to reveal God to mankind. He came to teach truth and to fulfill the Law. Offering His kingdom and to reveal God’s love. He came to bring peace. and to heal the sick. He came to minister to the needy. He came to die. For us to live, and He was doing it willingly.
While it is appropriate to commemorate the birth of Christ, we should not just leave Him as a baby in a manger. His birth was just the first step in God’s glorious plan of redemption. Though devised and carried out by men with evil intentions, His death was in no sense a tragedy. In fact, it represents the greatest victory over evil anyone has ever accomplished. It should be an occasion to exalt Jesus Christ. It is the triumph of Christ’s sacrificial death that gives meaning to His humble birth. We can’t truly celebrate one without the other.
In the light of this, how should we Christians observe Christmas? Besides being a good time for giving, we are celebrating the greatest gift ever given – God’s only begotten Son. God’s gift was first of all a gift of love to an unworthy world. He gave not because He had to, but because He loves us. With that perspective, Christmas will not become too commercial and materialistic so the spiritual truth about giving will not be blurred. The buying frenzy can leave many people (who also spent a small fortune) with loads of unwanted stuff at the end of the season! Even the world knows this phenomenon and offered tips to not make this a season of overspending, referring to a Sunday Times article last week.
So for this season we want to thank God again for His gift of Christ our Redeemer. For His goodness, for His kindness, in restraining evil, for good government, for all things beautiful, for His compassion. And above all for family who will cherish and love us.
Deacon Henry Leong