First off I would like to wish you and yours a truly Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Christmas Day has come and the Christmas season is with us. I would just like to leave with you a reflection to help us to understand and to truly enter into the Christmas season even though Christmas Day may have gone already.
I believe that it is only those who have experience true love, or those who have loved, can understand what Christmas is all about. Let me explain. When I say those who have experienced love, I am not speaking of Christmas love songs that we hear this time of year. “All I want for Christmas is you” and “be my present under my tree” and alike. No! I am rather speaking of Christmas in terms of the Father longing for the return of his sons and daughters who have been away from him, and who have lived outside of his love and warm embrace for a very long time.
When God created us, he created us out of love and he created us for love. It was for no other reason but for love that God created us. God literally loved us into being. It is amazing to think that the God of all Creation loves us so much that He sent His only Son into the world to make a way for us; to open doors that sin would had shut tight – the doors that lead to eternal life. For many who may not believe, that may be just a cliché that you have heard over and over again. But it is all true.
We can understand the relationship that God desires to have with us when we look at Genesis chapter 1. There we see that when God created us, not only did he say that we were good like all of creation, but he said we were very good! As we continue reading through Genesis, we see that in the cool of the evening God would come and in Trinidadian terms, he would lime with Adam and Eve.
Now when sin entered the world, and that friendship between God and man was broken, God never gave up on us. He knew that he had to send his Son, his Only Son to bridge the gap between himself, the dream that he has for us all and mankind. Nothing else would do. And we can get a glimpse of this by looking through the Old Testament where the people of old, in trying to make reparation with God would offer a spotless lamb with the hope that God would forgive them of their sins. They had to go to the high priest who would offer the lamb on their behalf to God. It was a common practice to make an offering to God for forgiveness of sins.
God knew that for that friendship between himself and man to be restored, it could only be done through Jesus Christ his Son, the Spotless Lamb through whom the sins of His beloved would be forgiven. Nothing else would do. No one else would do. The Son of God had to come, not as God but rather, he had to enter into our humanity as one of us, but without sin. And so it was God’s plan that at a specific time in the history of mankind, that his Son Jesus would enter into the world, born of the Virgin Mary.
Between the time when sin entered the world and when this was to be fulfilled, God yearned for man to come back to him. Just as someone who loves yearns for the return of their loved ones, even more was God yearning for the return of his children. All through the books of the Prophets we see this. In some instances it appears as if God was literally crying; ‘my people, my people, why don’t you come back to me?’ ‘My people, I have loved you with an everlasting love.’ God longed for the day when the gap that existed between his beloved and himself would be no more. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. We celebrate the breaking down of the wall that sin created, by the coming of the Christchild into the world.
So it’s not about the gifts. It’s not about the turkey and the ham and all the food. It’s not about all that stuff. Don’t get me wrong. All of this is beautiful and it is good. However, Christmas is so much more than the great food and gifts; it is about the unthinkable, indescribable, immeasurable, boundless love of God. In Trinidadian lingual we say that God is “too-tool-bay” over us.
We can understand to some extent, how God was feeling through all the centuries when we read the story of the prodigal son. In that story we see that when the son left, it was not “business as usual” for the father. Rather everyday the father would gaze out into the horizon, wondering when his son would come home. And on that day when he gazed out into the horizon and saw that familiar image and he ran and embraced him his son. The father rejoiced. This is the Christmas story. After the fall of man, God gazed in to the horizon of time to that time and place when he would be reconciled to us his people, through Jesus Christ his Son. It is no wonder therefore that the angels sang ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people of good will.’ It is no wonder that the stars were shining so brightly on that first Christmas night. It is no wonder that the heavenly hosts of angels sang so lusterly at the birth of Jesus Christ. It is no wonder that the shepherds went to visit him to pay homage. It is no wonder that the wise men travel for so many miles to see and behold this child the prophets spoke of for centuries before. It is no wonder that 2000 years plus after his birth, the world still joyfully celebrates this birth. It is no wonder that even non-christians celebrate this event like no other event in the history of mankind has ever been celebrated no ever will be celebrated.
You see sisters and brothers, Christmas is the celebration of the love of God, and the Word of God tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus. So for those who are seeking to deny the existence of Christ in Christmas – they are wasting their time.
So my dear friends, when I wish you a Merry Christmas, my wish for you has nothing to do with gifts nor all the other niceties of Christmas. Rather it has to do with the greatest gift of all, God sending His Son into the world. So then I wish you a Merry Christmas, my sincerest prayer for you and for yours is that you will come to an experience God’s supreme love that is beyond any other experience that you or I can ever, ever have. Merry Christmas to you and yours and may God richly, richly bless you.