Month: January 2012

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

I had written this with the intention of posting it around Christmastime  but had to pause when some parts of Northern Nigeria were thrown into mourning on account of the heinous activities of some humans on fellow humans who had gone to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus. But I believe this would still bless us.

As I drove around town last night and saw the beautifully decorated streets, I thought I felt the Christmas thingy. But somewhere at the corner of my mind was that nagging feeling of general insecurity across Nigeria.

There has been so much evil in the news these days that stories about Christmas are just able to make cameo appearances.  If we are not hearing about bomb blasts, we are hearing about protests turned violent. What about the son who kills his father for money or the young man who hacks his wife to death. I’ll spare you more details so you don’t get irritated and stop reading. In spite of the fact that some not so pleasant events are competing for more attention than our yearly celebrations, we still won’t forget Christmas. We will put up the Christmas decorations, send greeting cards, give gifts and get new clothes for the children (some adults won’t be left out of this anyway). The social networking media has made life easier. We can easily send Christmas wishes to our friends with little effort.

In this midst of all this I asked myself if we would still have heightened excitements about Christmas if we did not see the Christmas lights and decorations and if we did not hear the classic Christmas carols. Would we still smell Christmas in the air without the Santa grotto or Christmas trees? I have heard it severally that Christmas is to be celebrated every day. Which part of Christmas is referred to when this is said -the associated celebrations, the true essence of it or the total experience? I actually wouldn’t mind the total experience. I’d love to have the opportunity to say once and again several times a year that Christmas is in the air.

Among other great truths, I believe Christmas tells of the coming of light to the world. Jesus said He is the light of the world. From the scriptures, we understand that the world is full of wickedness and darkness. Darkness naturally fills the earth. The evils we see around us represent the darkness that is resident in our world. Recently, I thought and I asked, “If you want to see what darkness really looks like and you shine the light on it, what would you see? Nothing I found out. Darkness disappears when light comes. No wonder there is no comprehension of light by darkness, because they can never mix. So, what does this mean? The only way I can deal with darkness is to shine the light. Yes, shine the light. In the New Year, I am going to shine the light. As long as I keep my light under the bushel, darkness will rule. Darkness would clothe my own world like the Mephistophelian blanket it is, if I do nothing with my light. I have to be courageous and always speak the truth and speak for the truth. I must get involved in my community, shining the light and not blending in.

We would complain less about the darkness around us as we shine our lights. It is not going to be you alone; I am with you in this. Surely, we can have more Christmases in the year not just filled with Christmas lights but with the light of Christ shining through us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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BEARERS OF GOOD NEWS

Luke 2:9-11 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

The angels must have been jostling to be selected to bring this good news to those shepherds that beautiful night. It always feels good to be the first to break a pleasant news to others. You even become more special when you are perceived as a regular bearer of good news. Everyone loves good news. Everyone wants to hear good news all the time.

We have good news for everyone that is relevant for all seasons. This season we are celebrating that special moment in eternity when the redemption plan of God for man was manifested on earth.

What is the good news?  God had kept His word. The prophesies were fulfilled. Israel’s long wait for a deliverer was over. Simeon and Anna, who were present the day the Lord Jesus was presented in the temple, could not agree any less. The man to rescue us from our slavery to sin and its consequences was born in Bethlehem. God had given peace on earth and goodwill towards men. God himself had reached down to man. It was not another effort of man to reach God but God’s ultimate and only way of saving man.  Finally, man would be reconciled to His maker. Glory be to God in the Highest.

Why is it good news to us? It is good news to us because we are privileged to partake of this miracle. The patriarchs anxiously waited for this great event. They prophesied about it but did not experience it. They knew its importance and significance and earnestly sought to be a part of it. They knew this was the coming of the true kinsman-redeemer of Israel and the world as a whole. Simeon was so happy to see the boy Jesus. Anna rejoiced to see that day. Today, we are fortunate to be able to celebrate this event too. This good news means we can be called joint heirs with Christ. It means we now have direct access to the Father through His son. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5). What was hidden for several generations is now available for all to access.

What do we do with the good news? We should spread the good news. God says our feet are beautiful when we do this. He says we are His ambassadors and His co-workers when we tell others about Jesus. We would go because we have His backing and authority. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations… lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:19-20). Also, our response to the good news should be continuous gladness and rejoicing. Each time the devil brings an accusation or affliction, we should remember the good news. We should believe the good news and apply it to our lives.

Yes, it is good news. He might not have had a grand entry but all the forces of heaven and earth took note of His coming. He might have looked as helpless as any day-old babe will look at birth but His power and ability were never in doubt. He might have come to earth without a physical army or retinue of forces but everyone knew a King was born. We have nothing to lose by sharing the good news that has this man as its focus. We don’t have to defend the truth. The truth will speak for itself. We only have to tell the truth. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!