Covering topics on religion, philosophy and life, this blog attempts to make biblical truths simple for the average believer. As porridge is soft to aid digestion, so the blog contents are easily understood.
However, there is also meaty stuff for those who aspire to go deeper. The relevance of the Bible in our daily life (areas such as finances, sex, marriage, health and emotional healing) is also dealt with.
As we reflect on the
various characters in the birth narrative of Jesus, we rediscover the meaning
the Christmas season again! If we were aliens peering through outer space
through a long-range telescope, what would we see? What conclusions would we
draw based on all the hustle and bustle, all the glitz and glitter?
season for travel and family reunions? A shopping extravaganza amid twinkling
lights and an unending stream of carols?
time of goodwill as Santa Claus goes on his rounds distributing goodies? Merriment
that never seems to end? Party animals and pub goers reveling till the wee
hours of the morning?
afar, there are few indications that it is a religious festival. Perhaps the scale of the celebrations in the
West makes us think it is a cultural
But if our telescope can peer through
walls, its religious significance comes alive. In churches, the message of
Christmas is being preached once again. Joy and gratitude are written on a
multitude of faces as praise and worship resound throughout the church.
Meanwhile, in relative quiet, families
share the joy of Christmas at home over a sumptuous meal. As fathers lead their
families in thanking God for His blessings, the children’s thoughts are on the gifts
hanging on the Christmas tree.
far we have pieced together various images through our “viewfinder” in order to
decipher the meaning of Christmas. But that is as far as our telescope will
more, we have to dig into the Bible to discover the real meaning of Christmas.
We will need to reflect on the various characters in the birth narrative of Jesus:
Mary, the shepherds, the angels, the wise men and Herod. Of course, we shan’t miss out the central
figure who is Jesus.
birth had a most unceremonious welcome. According to Micah’s prophecy, he was
born in a small village called Bethlehem. At the time of His birth, His earthly
parents had to lay him in a manger as the inn was full. To us, it’s unthinkable
that the King of Kings was born in a place meant for animals. It’s a distinctive
picture of humility by one who had supreme authority.
Christmasredefines greatness. The true measure of a man is not
necessarily his ancestry, wealth, power or fame. Let us emulate Jesus whose
mission on earth was to serve others.
also demonstrated servanthood. When the angel announced she would bear Jesus in
her womb, she availed herself of the chance to become God’s instrument.
multitude of the heavenly host worshipped God at the time of His birth. Jesus may
seem insignificant and lowly, being born in a manger. But has anyone’s birth been
heralded by angels?
shepherds were overjoyed when an angel told them to look for a baby wrapped in
swaddling cloth in a manger. Immediately they went to Bethlehem to greet the
baby. And having seen the infant, exactly like what the angel had told them,
they went away glorifying and praising God.
The wise men from the East were looking for
the baby who would become the King of the Jews. Though they were intellectuals,
they were spiritually sensitive. They rejoiced that a star would go before them,
guiding them all the way to the birth place of Jesus. When they found the
infant, they fell down and worshipped Him.
The gifts they offered Jesus– gold,
frankincense and myrrh – were most appropriate, befitting the offices Jesus
would assume in His adult life. Gold speaks of His kingship, frankincense
reflects His role as High Priest and myrrh symbolises His agony at the cross.
Herod, on the other hand, personifies those
who live for themselves. He had a personal agenda when he told the wise men to
look for baby Jesus as he too would like to worship Him. In fact, he wanted to
kill the infant, perceiving Him as a threat to his kingship.
But his evil designs failed to bear fruit.
Truth always triumphs over evil in the final analysis, regardless of any attempt
by man to ignore, suppress or violate it. Through the centuries, many Christians
have been persecuted and even killed for their faith. Nevertheless, the Christmas
story of this exquisite baby, whose crib was a feeding trough for animals, still
continues to be propagated far and wide.*
The various characters in the birth narrative of
Jesus are like the protagonists in a play. When we reflect on their qualities,
we rediscover the meaning of Christmas.
is about giving. We can give without loving
others. But we cannot love others without giving of ourselves. Jesus loved us
by giving away His life. The wise men presented meaningful gifts. Mary also
gave, allowing her womb to be used for Jesus’ conception.
is aboutjoy. The angels, shepherds and
wise men rejoiced as they worshipped the special baby.
heart of Christmas is God’s love.
God showed His love for us by sending Christ to die on the cross for us. God
punished Christ – instead of us – for our sins. In other words, Christ became
the scapegoat. This is the central message of Christmas – the Good News that
God forgives all, provided they believe Christ died for their sins.
is also a time forreflection.Let us learn from Mary who treasured up all the wonderful events in her life,
pondering them in her heart. She might have thought: What on earth is happening? The one I’m carrying in my womb is no ordinary
baby. His conception has been supernatural. Even angels rejoice and worship at
The God who spoke long ago to the wise men
and shepherds still speaks to us today –whether we’re intellectuals or simple folks.
What matters is whether our hearts are open or not – and whether we have faith.
We must not let the twinkling lights of Christmas distract us from its true
death on the cross is a well-attested event. But that’s only a historical fact.
When one believes and confesses that Christ
died on the cross for me, it makes a whole world of difference.
the lyrics of “Christmas isn’t Christmas”
Christmas isn't Christmas
till it happens in your heart
Somewhere deep inside you
Is where Christmas really starts
So give your heart to Jesus,
you'll discover when you do
That it's Christmas, really Christmas for you.
So what is the reason for this season of
celebration? It is not about the glitz and glitter. It’s about the grace of
God. It’s about a merciful God who forgives our sins. He wants to draw
us into an everlasting relationship with Him, one that transcends our earthly
life into eternity.
**Music by Jimmy & Carol Owens. Lyrics by
Carol Owen (abridged version).
The above article appeared in the Dec 2012 issue of Asian Beacon.
James Allan Francis spoke of the impact made
by Jesus’ life:
is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He
grew up in another obscure village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until
He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never
wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a
family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He
never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did
one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but
Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His
still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends
ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went
through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while
He was dying—and that was his coat. When he was dead He was taken down and laid
in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.
wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human
race and the leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I
say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were
built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned,
put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as
has that One Solitary Life.