By Bienhome Muivah
The baby-Jesus the savior of the world! Angel messages, running shepherds, adoring Wise Men, and a jealous, furious, vindictive King Herod. There are many ironies about Christmas. Many years ago, on Christmas Eve, vandal stole a plaque and wreath, and many valuable items from the church. The plaque, pictured the Three Wise Men bearing gifts to the Saviour. Ironic!But are there not also ironies in your own home during the Christmas seasons? Children squabble about who gets the best present from the parents. Expenses hike-up and ultimately run into heavy debts. Ironic!
Tempers flare up on who is going to pay the debt? These little irritations are ironies because they don’t seem to fit a season of peace and goodwill. Could Christmas for us at
times be a form of slavery? We set up standards to evaluate the success of our celebration-managing to buy just the right gifts for our children, relatives, attending all the services. Galatians describes a type of slavery that is close to the heart of the problem. Paul preached the freeing Gospel to the Galatians. Later false teachers came, insisting on again observing Jewish rites. “It is fine to believe in Christ”, they said, “but you must be circumcised as the Law says and obey Sabbath regulations. Then you will be saved”.
In the white heat of anger Paul writes against such ideas. He knows that the Galatians are in danger of exchanging their new gospel freedom for the old slavery of the Law. They are losing Christ. At Christmas we easily become slaves to the Law. Despite the Christmas Gospel we, like the Galatian Christians, tend to put ourselves back under the Law. But it is necessary to remind ourselves this Christmas that the whole purpose of Christmas is to free us from slavery. Christ became a slave to make us sons and daughters of the King.
There is a danger of becoming sidetracked from the main purpose if we do not fix our focus on Christ. He was born under the Law, lived in the world as an outcast, and died as a common criminal. The slavery of Christ was the price God paid in order to make us His free children. The examples are reflections of worldwide evil taking place around the world today. Why so much of ostentatious display of Christmas with no room for the birth of the Baby Jesus?
Let’s pause and think, are we worshipping the creator or the creatures? Why put so much of importance to the materials which will soon pass away. Ironic! After hectic celebration, I think nothing really changes. Nations that hated another still continues. Politicians still undercut one another. Crime continues. In the face of these ironies, should we abandon the celebration of Christmas? No, indeed. The presence of evil explains why God chose to send His son in the first place. Only the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ could bring a sea change and forgiveness into this fractured and broken world. And the message of Christmas takes on deeper meaning against the background of a stolen church plaque, squabbles, irritations, and global bitterness and hatred.
God’s spirit can free us from Christmas slavery by reminding us again through the Christmas story that we are free children of God through Christ. This year once again we perceive a real need for God’s only son. And God continues to love us in Christ. Let us thank God in gratitude for sending His only son into this fractured world. Merry Christmas!