Every year, during the days leading to Christmas, we see the same scenario playing out itself. The shopping centres are full, the cities are bustling with traffic both human and vehicular. You wonder where such a mammoth crowd emerged from all of a sudden.
'But it's Christmas!' you might exclaim, and I agree with you. My question however is, 'Whose Christmas?'
I was reading the account of the birth of Jesus and something struck my mind. Mary and Joseph had gone to Bethlehem to be counted in line with the decree of Ceaser Augustus. While there, she went into labour. Imagine for a moment, being in Joseph's shoes. He must have gone from inn to inn looking for accommodation and could not find any because they were all booked by others, who had also travelled to Bethlehem to be counted.
When all efforts proved abortive, they had to settle for a manger. In those days, Inns were raised several feet high so that the space underneath can be used to keep the animals, usually donkeys and other transport animals belonging to the travellers. That space is known as a manger. It was like a modern day motel car park. I wonder where Mary got the clothes she wrapped the child in? Who were the midwives who helped with the delivery? These are questions the scriptures didn't tell us.
One unmistakeable fact is that Jesus was born in a humble way. It is a sharp contrast from the hustle and bustle we see around us as Christmas approaches. I believe Christmas should be celebrated after all, the proclamation of the angels to the Magi was a proclamation of joy. Our rejoicing should rest on what God did for us by giving us His only begotten son.
I know that for God, it must have been a bittersweet experience. He must have been happy to know that His plans for the salvation of mankind was going full course and that many were about to be freed from the clutches of the evil one. On the other hand, how it must have hurt Him, knowing that He was giving up His only begotten son to go through untold and unimaginable suffering, deprivation culminating in the most ignoble death ever - being crucified on the cross. It was an expensive price to pay so that man, that is, you and I, may not suffer the eternal consequences of sin.
For those of us who are called by His name, our celebration should be the celebration of praise and thanksgiving for the ultimate gift given to us by God. We should also carry this celebration further by sharing the good news with others so that they can also be free from the power of the devil. Not only that, we should also seize the opportunity to identify the needy around us and share the love and compassion of Christ to them.
This I believe is the real Christmas celebration and that is how we can be sure of whose Christmas it is.
(First written in 2014, revised December 2019)
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the BiblepraiseFellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org