If Christ came to you this Christmas??
Was Friday, and today for that matter, a holiday for you? Or was it a holy day? In other words, was it merely a day of relaxation, eating and drinking; an opportunity to sit back and enjoy a quiet time, or was it something significantly more? Yes, we could fit church in there somewhere, but in many ways, it was just a break from normal life; or was it a truly special day? If it was a holy day, it means Christ was born anew in you. Then that being the case – what difference does it make for your life? What does it mean that Jesus is a part of your life yesterday, today and forever? These are some important questions we need to ask ourselves now that Christmas day has once again come and gone.
It is obvious that many go through Christmas without any great change taking place in their lives. There is no renewal that has taken place:
Christ meaning no more today than he did last week. For them, Friday was merely a holiday: a festive day with family and friends: a day to eat, drink and be merry – for who knows, we might not be here next year. Yes, perhaps they went to church. After all, it is the right thing to do; just to let God know that we haven’t forgotten him completely. But that is not what Christmas is all about.
Christmas means, Christ come to be with us: come to be a reality in our life. And that is what happened on Friday; Christ came to every one of us. He came to share life with us: He came seeking to be the most important part of our lives. He came to do something about mending that relationship we had broken with God and those around us.
However, sadly far too many, were too wrapped up in the presents, Christmas dinner and other things, to recognize and even give thought to him. There were too many other things to do and think about: too many other cares and hassles that they were involved in.
But for those of us whom Christmas has touched: that Christ touched through his presence with us, is what made this Christmas special.
Again, there is now change taking place in our lives, with Christ’s presence bringing transformation for our lives.
Our reading this morning tells us something of what is part of this Christmas present that came to be with us. Christ’s presence among us means that we now become more compassionate toward one another;
Kinder and more humble in our living of life: gentler and more patient in our dealings with others. Now for some of us that is really something. But for all us, we could do with a little more of those things. Well, with Christ here with us, those things will begin to happen more and more in our lives. The more Christ is the centre of our lives the more these things will become evident.
But that is not all. In the hassles and difficulties that we have with others around us, we now bear with them and even find the strength to forgive as the Lord forgave us. And so the nature of our relationships with those people changes: our tensions and difficulties are overcome: Our Lords forgiving presence toward us, enables us to have a changed attitude in our relationships to fami1y, friends and associates. Now this is really something! And it is so much needed.
But even more: The love that God has for us becomes evident in our lives. Our community is drawn together by the selfless giving of ourselves for the benefit of others: love radiates out from Christ’s presence, through us, to others; and suddenly from the outworking of all these things in our lives, we begin to see some changes taking place in our society that is so much needed. Christ here with us has its effect through us to our community; and there then we begin to see more of the sorts of things that we know are good and positive – rather than divisive and destructive. All of this and more has come to us this Christmas – in this most wonderful of presents.
But, we are reminded here that there is still more to this gift. The peace of Christ now rules in our lives; so there is no need to get uptight and frustrated by what is happening around us. We can be at peace with what is happening in our world: the sickness, tragedy and events beyond our control no longer need to cause us to overwhelmed or afraid. We now have our God in our midst, giving us peace: bringing peace to our community through our changed attitude.
And with that comes thankfulness: Thankfulness for all the wonderful blessings that are there in our lives. Now that we are able to see beyond our cares and hassles, to all the great things happening around us as result of God’s activity, we can more and more give thanks to God . So instead of being negative and finding fault and being gloomy, we are also able to see and be positive about life. Thankful for all God is doing in and around us.
But in this reading, there is still more. Assured of our Lord’s presence, love and goodness that he has for us, we also find that the Word of Christ becomes something that is of greater value for our lives. Suddenly Scripture becomes important for us; helping us to keep close to our God. There we are reminded again and again of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Along with that, we also are given directions for living our lives in a way that is good and helpful for our relationship with him and the people around us. That means that we will now see the Word of God as being more important to us than what the philosophers and educators of today are trying to push down our throats. For now, we know that God has that which is truly helpful and good for all of life: Here we have that which is true and is able give us that which can be relied on.
Now lastly and most importantly, this reading points us to the greatest change that takes place for us: everything that we now say and do, is done in the name of the Lord Jesus. Not in the name of what I want. Selfishness and self-centredness has gone out the window, because it is no longer important to us or for us. For now, we realise that what I want and what I think is good and important, only leads to heartache and distress. With the Lord Jesus as our leader, guide and friend, we now know that we are on the right track. He alone holds the answers to all of life and death. He has a reason, purpose and meaning for all that happens in our life. Everything that we have, are, think, say and do only has any importance and value because of him and what has done for us.
Now there we have only very briefly been shown what we have now as a result of Christmas. Christ with us, means all this and more is becoming a part of life for us. What a present – what an event is Christmas. All of this and more is there for us, all because our Lord chose to come and be with us. Let us not forget this great happening as we go on. Let us not turn our backs on all of this by getting too involved in all these other things in life, so that Christ becomes crowded out once again. Instead, let us make the most of what our Lord is seeking to do in and through us. Let us live ever mindful of the wondrous gift that has been given to us. Yes, with the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives this is what is in front of us. May he bring to us all these great changes that he has in mind for us and then may the true peace and joy of this season go with you now and always. AMEN.