Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sharing the Joy of Christmas in the new year

Christmas has come and gone and soon we will be celebrating another new year. Christmas is a season of celebration and of joy.  The good news is that God has given us the precious gift of His only beloved Son. The question before us is how we can share the joy of Christmas - the good news that Jesus will make a difference in our lives and in the lives of those we meet.  

The reality is that all of us are struggling with weaknesses, addictions, fear, pride and guilt. We are like the Jews who were in bondage in Egypt. We are all slaves to sin through our egos. Jesus did not come to demand that we give up our pleasures in life. He came to set us free from our slavery to sin so that we can transcend the 4 “F”s of the primitive instincts of feeding, fighting, fleeing and reproduction (fornication) which lead us to greed, anger, fear and lust.

It is only when we are set free from sin that we will be able to live the abundant life as children of our loving Heavenly Father. But God’s free gift of salvation means nothing to us if we feel that we have not sinned. But all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3: 10-12)

The first step is therefore of repentance – to acknowledge our slavery to our egos, the world and the evil one. We need to be like the prodigal son who came to his senses after losing all he had. We need to be like the alcohol addict who recognizes his helplessness to overcome his addiction and to turn to God for the power to do so.

Jesus is the answer to all the problems we are facing in the world. Jesus is the turning point of human history and mankind has made tremendous advances in society over the past 2000 years. However, we must be careful not to be overzealous or self-righteous to force others to accept our beliefs. Jesus is the gospel that the world needs to see manifested in each one of our lives. As I held my newborn grand-daughter in my arms, it was an experience that brought to mind my need to rest in the arms of our Heavenly Father. The cries of the newborn are also a symptom that we are born into a world of pain and suffering. But Jesus died on the cross to set us free from guilt, fear and death. 

Jesus came as a new born child to teach us that we need to be like the new born in our dependence on God. Our calling as followers of Jesus is to be the windows for the world through which they can see Jesus lifted up in our lives and He will draw all men to Himself.   

We do not need to try to be good or righteous. What we need is to learn to surrender our will to Jesus Christ as Lord in our hearts. But this is not such an easy thing to do. It is by faith that we live out the mystery of Jesus as the incarnation of God – Jesus with us and in us. This is what makes our Christian faith different from the other religions. Let us therefore live as children of God, not in our own strength but because Christ is in us.

May 2014 be a year filled with the love, joy and peace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.

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