The Reason For The Season: A Reflection.
by Nick Bishop
Once more, it’s Christmas and as usual, we are bombarded by adverts left, right and center. Celebrities like Julia Roberts, Chris Hemsworth, Johnny Depp, Charlize Theron, etc, are endorsing products for which they get paid handsomely. Meanwhile, we rush out to buy these products to make us smell better and whose to say, these celebs even use the product they are pushing on us! It’s amazing to think that many of us do rush out to buy products like ‘Sauvage’, (as advertised by Captain Jack Sparrow himself aka Johnny Depp) because we think if Johnny Depp is advertising it, it must be good! Then other Christmas adverts portray families sitting around tables fit to burst with food and drink. Of course, that’s the ideal scenario for most of us, but let us remember for homeless people, those living in poverty and isolation, this doesn’t depict their Christmas Day.
Sadly, we see the word ‘Christ’ taken out of ‘mas’ to be replaced by abbreviations like ‘Xmas’ and other words which totally disrespect Jesus. Often, these words in front of mas, encourage us to part with our money through their advertising. Apart from TV and other media, you often see this outside of pubs, restaurants, and cafes, but obviously, that will be restricted this year because of Omicron.
How many of us celebrate Christmas for its true meaning? According to the pollster company You Gov, 61% celebrate Christmas in a secular fashion and 31% celebrate the season with a combination of secularism and religiously. Sadly, just 4% celebrate Christmas for faith reasons.
Just as salvation is open to all people, so Christmas should be a universal celebration for all. And while Christians invite all to their Christmas, it may also mean that we may entertain those who do not believe or accept Christ as God revealed to us in the flesh. So it behooves us as Christ’s disciples, to show and tell them why we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ; what he came to do, and what he promised while on this planet (still available today), and the promise of everlasting life beyond this one.
Of course, we should never force this message, but if those around our table on Christmas Day ask us about Jesus, then we must tell them. What they choose to do with that information is a matter for them. If they make a decision for Christ, then we have done our spiritual duty as instructed by Jesus. However, even if we just plant a seed in their mind and heart, and one day, that seed blossoms and grows into a full-blown faith in God, then that is wonderful too!
Imagine for a moment, that everyone is celebrating your birthday but you aren’t invited! You would feel hurt and angry and understandably so. So when Christmas takes place in a secular fashion or when Christ is just seen as one of many Prophets or a Guru, it’s like Christ is not only misunderstood but he is being locked out of his own party.
When people say Happy Holidays or Winterfest, that too is disrespectful to Jesus. People say these things because they do not wish to offend those that do not believe or those of other beliefs. Even some Christians, not wishing to offend others say this. But thankfully, there are many who are not afraid to wish someone a Happy Christmas.
Over Christmas, there will be programmes where profanities will be used, and where the words, ‘Jesus Christ’ will be said as throwaway swearwords. This is certainly disrespectful to God and scripture warns us clearly, not to take the Lord’s name in vain. So while I am not telling you what to watch or listen to, we must be careful what we entertain.
2021 has been a trying year for many of us, regardless of circumstances. With that in mind, I wish you a Peaceful and Happy Christmas. Also, that God willing, 2022 will be a better, healthier, secure, and more profitable New Year.
Finally, I will close this blog with two quotes from scripture that describe the hope that Jesus brings into our world, not just 2,000 years ago, but for now and forever:
Isaiah 9:6: “For us, a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.
John 1:29: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”.
God bless you,
July 24, 2022
July 23, 2022