The Rector writes…
Christmas 2015 has arrived and is upon us as I write. For every believer, Christmas surely must thrust upon us many opportunities to make Christ known, and of course the accompanying challenges as to how we celebrate Christmas and the particular witness that we convey to unbelievers thereby. In saying this, I have been deeply convicted by Jesus’ statement to Pilate, when He said to him, ‘my kingdom is not of this world’ and ‘my kingdom is from another place’ (John 18:36). I believe these two statements of Jesus should profoundly impact how we Christians celebrate Christmas and how we are to approach this season.
When we accept Jesus Christ into our lives as Saviour and Lord, we cross over from the dominion of darkness into Jesus’ Kingdom, where Jesus rules (Col 1:14). We are part of Jesus’ kingdom – a kingdom that is foreign to this world, different to this world; a kingdom that is not of this world. The Bible says we should live in this world as though we are strangers and aliens (1 Peter 2:11) that are simply passing through (Heb 11:8-10). We are strangers that are passing through this world because we are looking forward to a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb 12:28) and to a city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Heb 11:10). The values and principles of Jesus’ kingdom are in conflict with that of the world and that is why there is always a wonderful tension for believers in seasons like we are in now.
So, how does all of this impact believers this Christmas season? Firstly, we need to recognize in our hearts and in the attitudes we project and in the celebrations we participate in, that though we are in this world (the kingdom of this world), we are not of this world (John 17:11,16), because we are of another kingdom (John 18:36). Secondly, in recognizing this, we must embrace the truth that we are called as believers to be ambassadors of Jesus’ Kingdom (2 Cor 5:20), which means the values and priorities of Jesus’ Kingdom must be the values and priorities that we profess and demonstrate throughout this season and indeed throughout the year. Values such as servanthood and humility are key to our witness along with Jesus’ priorities of attending to the needy, the vulnerable and marginalized.
Thirdly, being of Jesus’ Kingdom, let’s keep our gaze, not on worldly pleasures and comforts but on the lasting treasures of obeying and serving our King, even Jesus Christ our Lord.
As you embrace this message today, may you know the joy and fulfillment of being part of a kingdom that will never fade and can never be destroyed.
A Christ filled Christmas to all!