Chaplain's Thought: A different Christmas?
How will you celebrate Christmas this year? It will probably be different from normal. Restrictions mean that there may be family members who we won’t see. As far as Churches are concerned Christmas services and celebrations will be severely curtailed.
Throughout the Orange Institution many annual events which take place at this time of year simply cannot happen. I believe this is a good opportunity for us to reset our Christmas Celebrations. There is a real danger that we can be so caught up in all the trappings of Christmas that we miss the real meaning for celebrating. The opportunity this year is to put the focus of Christmas back where it belongs – on Jesus.
The way we celebrate may be different but the message of Christmas does not change. Here is what the angel told the shepherds in Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.” This is what Christmas is really all about. Jesus Christ being born in Bethlehem all those years ago.
I wonder have you ever really thought about what happened that night. Of course, a baby was born and placed in a manger to sleep. Angels, shepherds and wise men all played their part. However this was no ordinary baby. This was Jesus Christ, the Son of God taking on human form to come to this earth. Jesus left all the glory and majesty of Heaven to come to this earth to be our Saviour.
See how the angel describes Jesus, “He is Christ the Lord.” This is the Messiah, this is the One who was prophesied and promised throughout the Old Testament. He is also God! That is what the word Lord means here. This baby lying in a manger is the sovereign, almighty God. The wise men knew this and that was why they came to worship Jesus – the baby. Jesus Christ, God the Son, was born as a baby in Bethlehem. He came to be our Saviour, the One who would forgive our sins and redeem us as we trust in Him.
Why did it have to be Jesus? The sacrifice for sins had to be perfect and sinless and only God the Son would suffice. Cecil Frances Alexander gets it so right, “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, He only could unlock the gate of Heaven and let us in.” God loves us so much He sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth to die on the cross to save us from our sins. Jesus loves us so much that He came and willingly fulfilled His role.
This Christmas will be different in many ways, but remember that which does not change. Remember God loves you and sent Jesus to die for your sins and mine. Look beyond the manger to the cross and give thanks to God for “a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.”
By Wor. Bro. Rev. David Reid, Grand Chaplain