Greetings from Mexico where we came to spend the winter. Away from the cold Canadian weather, we are looking forward to spend Christmas in warm weather—the first since we left South Africa 31 years ago. Already we hear Christmas carols in the malls, reminding us of one of the greatest events in the history of humanity—the birth of Jesus, the Saviour of sinners.
For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O, morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13,14
Christmas came with a message of peace and goodwill to all men. It is a celebration of God’s love for an undeserving humanity, sending His only begotten Son into the world, as one of us, to become our Saviour. The birth of Jesus introduced the era of grace, the forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation with God—the very reason why this season is known for its joy and generosity. These are things that can hardly be done alone, which is why Christmas brings people together like no other day on our calendar.
This Christmas, however, will be different. Covid-19 made its entrance, and changed just about every aspect of life as we knew it. The virus severely impacted our world and with various levels of restrictions, and warnings of more to come should the number of infections continue to climb. Some jurisdictions require gatherings over the festive season to be limited to households only, effectively stifling the very spirit of Christmas. A gloominess seems to settle on the season of joy. The one day that everybody looked forward to for an entire year, now have many uncertain about what to do or expect, with loneliness a very real prospect to some, especially the elderly.
While we might see a bleak ending to a difficult year, there is a silver lining that should not be overlooked. Unlike the world, us believers have a world view that enables us to experience peace and joy in the most adverse circumstances. Our peace does not come from good times, but from the Prince of Peace Himself. Jesus is the giver of peace that the world cannot take away—the kind that allowed Him to sleep on a fishing boat in the middle of a violent storm. We know that there are two kinds of peace: the world’s peace which is the absence of hostility, and the Lord’s peace that supersedes the worst of what the world has to offer. The world’s peace is very fragile, and can be destroyed by a simple anxious thought, but the Lord’s peace cannot be taken away from us by any means.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
We have strong promises from the Lord that He will never leave or forsake us, (Hebrews 13:5), that the greater One lives in us, (1 John 4:4) and that Jesus has overcome the world. (John 16:33) Our joy is in the Lord, and His love for us, and that is the source of our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Now is the time to tear our eyes away from the world, and fix them on Jesus. This year, with all its bad news, is giving us that opportunity. Let us never forget that we are sojourners; we are just passing through this world as ambassadors of heaven. This world is not our home. Let us not be moved by what we hear and see around us, for we walk by faith in the One who called us to Himself, and not by sight. In Him we move and have our being, “for we are also His offspring.” (Acts 17:28)
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Matthew 5:14,15
As darkness falls on the earth, let us not forget that we are the light of the world, and that our light will be noticed now more than ever before. All the darkness in the world is not enough to put out the light of a single candle. We can either choose to use Covid-19 as a basket to cover our light by buying into the world’s depression, or we can put our light on a stand so that it can be seen clearly. This may very well be our last chance to reach some people with the good news of the gospel, which is the true message of Christmas. Eternal life is the ultimate Christmas gift that comes straight from the Father’s heart, paid for by Jesus’ blood that was shed on the cross, and He assigned us to deliver it.
While the attention of the uninformed is on baby Jesus in the manger, we look forward to His second coming, not far from now. The resurrected Christ, our Saviour and coming King who conquered death, and disarmed our enemy, is about to reign supreme over all the earth. The enemy has the entire world in the grip of fear, but, as Scripture says, the righteous is bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1) We do not entertain the spirit of fear; God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Let us celebrate this Christmas as winners!
The new year will bring some unique challenges of its own. Covid-19 took us down unknown territory that will continue into 2021. We will need fresh input from the eternal Word to stay the course. Please sign up here to receive our updates in your inbox. We never share email addresses or personal information with anyone!