By Francis Bola Akin-John
1. Almost every Christmas, lots of evangelical, Pentecostal, and charismatic believers raise unnecessary CONTROVERSIES about the right time that Jesus died or not. Many equally preach and fight as to whether to celebrate Christmas or not, thereby losing grounds for the Kingdom. While am not out to join forces with such controversies, I need to point out that we must focus on what is important in every Christmas celebration.
2. Another Christmas celebration is around the corner and common sense demands that we must use this opportunity for the kingdom of God. Whether we believe in it or not, the world will keep on celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ every Christmas. Whether December 25th is the exact date of Christ’s birth or not, the world has come to make it stay on that date, so it behooves us to do the right thing by focusing on Christ–the main reason for the season.
3. There are lots of fun, immoral activities, and incidents that come with the season. They are things like Christmas trees, greeting cards, foods, alcoholic drinks, immoral acts, travelings, accidents, and general fun that results in violence and loss of lives. Yet, the fact also remains that there are positives inside the celebrations too, such as remembrance of Jesus Christ, giving of gifts to the downtrodden, family time of reunion, holidays, gospel stories, and rest.
4. Am of the strong emphasis that we must rather focus on the positives than on the negatives. We must make maximum use of this holiday time to remind the people of the purpose of the birth of Christ and its implications for our world. We must deliberately focus on Christ during this Christmas, and every Christmas, because He is the MAIN REASON for the season.
5. So I want to ask you: What are you purposefully doing this year to make Christ the “center” of your Christmas season for yourself and those around you? Are you focused and fixated more on the natural part of the season, or have you purposefully lifted your thoughts to Christ and the real message of the season?
6. Today I want to encourage you to think of ways to elevate your thoughts — to set your mind on Jesus, seated at the right hand of the Father. After all, He is the real reason for the season. You can do it, and you can help others do it too!
7. Here are my suggested ways to purposefully focus on Christ every Christmas season:
A). Make it a time to retell, repeat the gospel story again–Mathew chapter 2;1-11
B) Hold church services for soul-winning and conversion of souls.
C) Outreach and evangelism to rural areas, unreached places, and city centers
D) Give gifts to church members, new converts, and prospective Christians.
E) Reach out to children, youths, and adolescents through music, worship and gifts so as to tell them the Christmas story and give altar calls for repentance and salvation in Christ.
F) Reemphasize the Birth, death, cross, resurrection of Christ and salvation from sin, sickness, and Stan found in Him alone.
G) Take Christians on a retreat, camp meeting, and gospel campaign to lift up Jesus Christ afresh so that everyone will have an encounter with Him anew.
H) Stay around for a family time of reunion so as to show Christ to your family and share
gifts with them, pointing to Christ, not really the eating and dining.
I) Making out time to pray, seek the Lord, rededicate our lives to Him, and seek His will for the new year on the horizon.
I believe if every church and Christian leader can focus our theology and practice on these points, then every Christmas celebration will not be in vain. It won’t be another time for traditional eating, drinking, and dancing, but for lifting up Jesus for the world to see.
Jesus was born for the purpose of the salvation of mankind. This is in fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic prophecy of Isaiah. Isaiah prophesied 700 years before the actual event took place. He prophesied that a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son and His name shall be called Emmanuel meaning God is with us (Isa 7:14).
Isaiah gave Ahaz, king of Judah a sign when God requested him to ask for a sign of victory when a Confederate army of Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah, the king of Israel came against him. Then, God through prophet Isaiah asked Ahaz to ask for a sign, but he was hesitant. Then God gave him the sign of Immanuel. And it’s a sure sign. A virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son. That virgin’s name was Mary.
Jesus means “Jehovah saves.” Matthew writing later confirms Isaiah’s prophecy, when he said, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call his JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:23 KJV).
Micah was specific about the place where the Messiah was to be born, in Bethlehem of Judea. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2 KJV).
Isaiah didn’t only prophesy about the virgin birth, but he said, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6 KJV).
The Angel Gabriel told Mary that the baby that shall be born of her shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). As a matter of fact, Mary was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost. She took in without the coming together of a man and a woman. This is quite unnatural and can only be a miracle!
Isaiah concludes that the government of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace would be an everlasting government and His Kingdom would continue to increase from everlasting to everlasting. His government shall be characterized with righteousness, peace and justice.
This is unlike the government of this world that’s characterized with anarchy, violence, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, killings, and all manner of wickedness.
Therefore, as we celebrate this year’s Christmas, let’s all embrace peace, love, righteousness, salvation and all the godly ideals of Jesus Christ, the Reason for the Season