New Hope Notes
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
The Christmas season comes in a rush, full of merriment and the business of gift giving and receiving. It can also be a time of sadness and loneliness for those who are going through difficulties or a lost in their life. What is Christmas and what does it really mean? Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s only son, a gift to a sinful and broken world - for salvation and redemption.
There are many external things like marketing, fancy posters, clever advertisements that can be used to draw people to Christ. The best and irreducible way to bring people to Christ is a personal invitation. Personal relationships give Christianity and Christ creditability. Your life is the best thing there is to the pathway and credibility of Christ to all others. The people of the church are important because when we live our lives righteously and joyously for the works of God, people will turn their eyes up and make their way to Jesus.
When we accept Christ in to our lives, things will not always be easy. There will be times that one will be wrestling with conflicting emotions. In order to live for the Lord, you must die to yourself. You must empty yourself and let God fill you up. God cannot fill one that is full of the self. Wrestling with emotions is inevitable, but surrendering to Jesus is the greatest victory that you’ll ever win in your whole life.
Christmas is bittersweet for God. He brought His only begotten son into the world. Christ was born to die for the redemption of man. God sacrificed His son for man. Christmas can be a lonely and painful time for some people. Our lives do not always line up with the seasons and festivities. Christmas may not be merry for some people due to their life situations. We need to understand that we should be spending Christmas with Jesus, it’s His birthday and what God intended it to be. When we spend Christmas with Jesus, it will remind us not to get so caught up in the worries and problems and help us place our focus on Him. It will allow us to turn the page on issues that we are dealing with, and allow God to write a new chapter in our life.
During Christmas, we are focused on our Christmas wishes. A poll was done on what people wished for Christmas. The top three answers that people gave were world peace, no sickness, and no crime. Those are all wonderful Christmas wishes, and what a pleasant world we would live in if those wishes were fulfilled. I was once questioned in an interview what was the greatest gift I ever gave to someone. I went on to describe how my friend was a Civil War enthusiast, who collected relics and artifacts from that era. I studied my friend in detail, what particular battles he was interested in and focused on. By studying my friend, I found the perfect gift for him. When I presented my friend the Civil War artifact, he was deeply touched by the thought put into the gift and said,” “How did you know that this is what I wanted?” We normally have a tendency to give people what we like, or pass on gifts that we don’t like to others. The best way to give a gift to someone is to study the recipient and match the gift to him.
At Christmas we tend to be selfish and look at what we want for Christmas. However, we need to keep in mind that it is not our birthday or celebrations, it is Christ’s. Instead we should study God and see what His Christmas wish is. We pray and pray for God to grant us our Christmas wish, but rarely do we ask God what His Christmas wish is. Christmas should really be about God’s wish, not ours. I have contemplated on what God’s Christmas wish would be. It would be for everyone to receive Jesus Christ. That is the greatest Christmas gift that we could give to God and everyone. Although we can pray for peace, no sickness, and no crime, the world still needs the salvation of Jesus. If the world was full of peace, had no sickness, and no crime, fewer people would seek God and go to Jesus, because they would feel that they would not have a need for him. As much as we pray for peace, no illness and no crime, we need to realize that the heart of man is made of flesh and he will grab for himself whatever he wants. Because of the sinful nature of man, conflict, sickness, and crime will exist. One prayer that God said He would answer is that people will be invited to find Jesus. Christmas is coming, and we must go to God and ask Him what is His wish, which is for people to come to Christ. We should look at people in our lives and think of God’s Christmas wish for them - for them to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and savior - so that there would be forgiveness and eternal life given. During this Christmas season we should be looking at God’s wishes and not our own. We must share the gift and love of Christ to all those around us. That is the greatest gift that we can give to God.
1) What does Christmas mean to you?
2) What does it mean to give a gift?
3) What is God’s Christmas wish for all?
4) How can you fulfill God’s Christmas wish?