In a forum I visited recently, someone said that Jesus never celebrated His birthday, neither did any of His disciples and the Bible bears no account of this. But since I've already dealt with reasons why I celebrate Christmas, I won't go into it again.
But let us suppose Jesus decided to celebrate His birthday, what are some things He might do? First of all, Jesus was a very sociable Person, and He was invited to many social gatherings. One that comes to mind is a dinner party at the home of Simon the leper where a woman came and broke an alabaster box of precious ointment and poured it on Jesus' head. Some of the guests felt it was a waste of money, but Jesus upbraided them. Read Mark 14: 1 - 8, Matthew 26: 7 - 13, Luke 7: 37 - 39. Then He took the opportunity to teach them a lesson on forgiveness.
What does this have to do with Christmas, you ask? Since Christmas is a social occasion, I believe Jesus would have got together with friends, He would have eaten and drank, and would have received gifts just as we do. However, I think Jesus would not have lost sight of His purpose even for a few moments. He would not have given in to drunkenness or revelry, but would have continued to speak about His Father and teach His listeners how to draw near to Him.
So if we are to be like Jesus, we should celebrate the way He would have celebrated, keeping our eyes on Him.
Monday, December 30, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
|English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, with the Holy Spirit (represented as a dove) and God the Father, with child john the Baptist and saint Elizabeth on the right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When He began to perform miracles, people said, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him" (Mark 6: 3). And because they didn't know who He was, they ignored or scoffed at what He had to say. They never believed He could be the Son of God, even though the prophets foretold his birth centuries earlier. Read Isaiah 7: 14; 9: 6 - 7; Micah 5: 2.
And when they finally crucified Him thirty-three years later, they still didn't know who He was. And so it is today. Many still don't know, or refuse to believe, who Jesus is. Do you know He is? He is the Savior of the world; Emmanuel, God with us; Son of God and the second Person of the Trinity; the great I AM; King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the Ancient of days; the Conquering Lion of Judah; the Bright and Morning Star and much more.
Get to know Him this Christmas. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you, and He will. Have a blessed Christmas! Enjoy the soothing rendition of steelband Christmas carol and the absolutely gorgeous creches in the video below.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
|Cover of The Story of Jesus (Little Golden Book)|
The simplest way, of course, would be to sit them down and tell them the story, but for younger children you may have to be a bit more creative. If you feel inadequate to doing this, here are a few hints to make this task not only easier, but fun.
1. Buy your child a picture book that depicts the story of Christmas and read it to him/her. A good choice is The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson. It has beautiful artwork and colors that will appeal to a young child.
2. You and your child can build a nativity set using fabric, felt or even decorating bottles to represent the Holy Family. For the enclosure, use a box, some straw, fabric, markers, snow and whatever else you fancy and let your imagination, and your child's, run wild.
3. Now that your child knows the story and you have made your nativity set, the whole family can dress up in costumes - you don't have to buy these, sheets and scarves will do - and re-enact the Christmas story on Christmas Eve night or whenever you choose. By the time you get through, the story of Jesus' birth, it will be indelibly impressed on your child's mind. This may become a family tradition.
Jesus said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19: 14).
Sunday, December 08, 2013
|Português: Brasília - O presidente da África do Sul, Nelson Mandela, é recebido na capital federal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
To my mind, the most astonishing and outstanding fact about the South African leader is not that he became the country's first black president, but that he was able to forgive those who had imprisoned him and invite them to share the stage with him at his inauguration. That, I think is the essence of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,(Mathew 5: 44).
In Long Walk To Freedom, Mandela wrote: "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
Responding to conservatives who dismiss Mandela as a communist, Newt Gingrich said, "Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by an extraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks."
Mandela was a man of reconciliation. He was not interested in simply being released from prison and living a free life, but he knew that unless South Africa's warring factions were united, the country would never experience peace. Together with de Klerk, leader of the National party and former implementer of apartheid, Mandela was able to bring those opposing forces together in a peaceful negotiation.
But he didn't stop there. In another amazing attempt at healing the country from the brutal effects of apartheid, Mandela encouraged black South Africans to support the Springboks, a white rugby team. Rugby had hitherto been a white man's sport. And when Mandela, wearing the Afrikaner captain's number 6 jersey, presented the cup to the victorious captain, Francois Pienaar, cheers of "Nelson! Nelson!" resounded from the largely white crowd.
That was how Nelson Mandela overcame his enemies - with love. The way Jesus taught. So, mourn his passing, we must, celebrate his life, we must, but most of all, let us, as Christians, emulate the man's love and readiness to forgive his fellowmen.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
|Mary Magdalene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Don't let it happen to you. Christmas is a time of joy as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever someone said or did to you is not important to ruin your happiness over. Let it go! Give it to Jesus! He came to earth so we can have peace, and this is why He is called the Prince of Peace.
The Bible tells of a lady named Mary Magdalene. She is the only lady in the Bible who is always called by her first and last name. This, I believe, is not only to distinguish her from the other Marys in the Bible, but to make sure everyone knows that she is the Mary who was possessed with seven devils.
But after Jesus healed her, Mary Magdalene did not allow her past affliction to keep her from following Jesus. When Jesus was on the cross, she was right there with the other women (Matthew 27: 56). She waited until Jesus' body was placed in the tomb and the next day she and another Mary returned to embalm the body. And this is where Mary Magdalene received her greatest honor. Jesus appeared to her and said, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God' " (John 20: 15 - 17).
The apostle Paul said, "...forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3 : 13 - 14). If Mary Magdalene had allowed her past to stand in her way, she would not have received the prize of being the first person to see the risen Jesus and to spread the good news. Her name might not have been recorded in Biblical history. So, what stands between you and your prize? Is it something in your past? Are you still hurting about what others said or did to you? This Christmas give yourself the gift of letting go. Lay it at the bottom of the cross and watch Jesus wash it away in His precious blood.