The reason for the season
Gift-buying and giving, bright lights everywhere and evergreens decorated in all their splendor and endless parties to attend–the Christmas season is upon us, but as you are out and about, ministers of the gospel hope that the real meaning of the season does not get lost as the secular side of the occasion.
According to Reverend T.G. Morrison, pastor at Zion Baptist Church on East and Shirley Streets with the nation in economic turmoil and people distracted if not by the materialistic nature of the times, then they can be distracted by an overbearing sense of hopelessness, during what should be a happy season.
“This is the Christmas season but with all the violence, pain and devastation going on it may be easily forgotten. The general climate in the country seems to be a sense of hopelessness because of job loss, poverty and crime even in this positive time. This is not a feeling that we need to be embracing because the purpose of this joyous season is to share hope and light. What is going on in our country now may make you want to despair as it taints the carefree feeling of the season but do not be afraid, because it can all be repaired with trust in God. Christmas is supposed to be one of the greatest occasions when hope and joy are promoted and if you keep focusing on the bad you will forget what it is really about.”
Reverend Morrison says this is really the season to recognize and show appreciation for God’s greatest gift to mankind–His Son–Jesus Christ.
“He so loved the world that he gave us this chance to repent and be cleansed of our sins and we should not be wallowing in the tragedies of this world but instead keep our eyes trained on him and do His good will to others this season. Christmas is not about trees or gifts, ham or turkey but rather it is about the incursion of God in Jesus. This is the most powerful display of love that has been bestowed upon us and we should not trivialize it with so much focus on secular celebrations. This is the season to turn your life around and be like salt and light to those around you. Let your light scatter the darkness and guide the lost to Christ. Let your salt better the environment around you. Let it enhance the mundane and the plain so that the power of God’s grace and love can be felt.”
New Covenant Baptist Church senior pastor Bishop Simeon Hall says the season is becoming over-run with external factors that should be having no dominion over it.
“One of the first things we should remember in this season is Emmanuel, God is with us. We cannot forget that especially in this season when we should be celebrating the son of God’s birth and the coming again of hope and salvation,” said the senior pastor of the church located on the East-West Highway.”We let these times and secular traditions shape what this period should be about and this should not be. We sing songs like”Silent Night, Holy Night”but we forget that the real miracle around Jesus’birth besides His conception is that He survived that period which, while being a blessed occasion, was also amidst a time when male babies were being killed by Herod’s soldiers because of the message of Jesus’birth spreading. It was not a silent night as we sing, nor was it holy with the blood that was shed and lives needlessly lost. But even so, God made something marvelous out of that night. So much like what is going on now, there is always hope even in the most hopeless of situations.”
Bishop Hall said instead of gifts, eating and excessive merry-making, Christians should be focusing on the latter part of the Christmas story when the wise men and shepherds spread the word about the Christ child to all who would hear. He says people should also feel mandated to do the same, and share the good news with their neighbors or someone who hasn’t heard it and may be feeling helpless in this season. The religious leader says by doing that they will be displaying the true meaning of the season.
While enjoying the festivities that take place surrounding the Christmas holiday is nice and being with family is enjoyable, Reverend Philip McPhee, head pastor at Calvary Baptist Church says what should be revisited this season in recreating the order, peace of mind and true joy of the occasion.
“This is a time that we think about the birth of Christ and how blessed we are, but it is also time to recreate the principles of the past that we used to live by,” said Rev. Dr. .”Years ago Christmas was about the family being in church, caroling and sharing gifts and food with the whole community. It was a time when children were children and parents were parents. It was a simple time. It was a joyous and plentiful occasion. Doors were open to everyone and it was truly a blessed time where fear of being robbed or murdered was not in the air.People had respect and treated one another in a truly Christian manner. Now times have changed and the family structure is breaking apart and Christian values are being lost. Material things are being used to pacify the feeling that something is missing but nothing material can replace the true reason for the season.”
According to Reverend McPhee, people should be aiming to return to the peace and serenity of years past as they celebrate and think about the birth of Christ.
“We should aim to positively transform the area around us, inspire those that we meet by telling them about Christ and teach and reteach the principles of the church to family, friends and the community. If we do so, God will be able to straighten out our country and resolve all the problems that we face. Christmas is a time of joy and thanksgiving and no matter what is happening it should not be forgotten.”