Chaplain’s Chat: Christmas remains so significant

As a pastor, I often get asked about how Christmas remains so significant in 2023 and how relevant is it to celebrate a person born 2,000 years ago.

While the details of Jesus’ birth – a star leading wise men, angels appearing to shepherds, and Mary pregnant before marrying Joseph – point us towards the arrival of someone significant, Christmas commemorates more than a sensational birth experience. A famous Christmas carol, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, describes Jesus as Emmanual, which means ‘God with us’. Christmas signals the arrival of God, who has come to live with humankind!

The Gospels reveal the question of why God came like this. We see Jesus move beyond the lowliness of the manger to live a life of sacrifice with no place to lay his head (Luke 9:58), and finally condemned unjustly as a criminal on a wooden cross (Philippians 2:8) in an abhorrent public execution. It’s the life that Jesus lays down that makes His birth so celebratory!

Some may consider I’m souring the brightness and joy of Christmas by mentioning Jesus’ death. Can’t we leave that for Good Friday? We prefer our nice, little, cuddly Baby Jesus at Christmas. No nails, no blood and no death!

But the light and joy of Christmas only has meaning because of Easter – when God lay down His life to take away the sins of the world. He did this for you. Christmas is for you only because His life, His death, and His triumphant resurrection on the other side is for you.  Christmas is significant because the Easter message doesn’t ruin Christmas… it gives the season its power.

If you don’t normally get to church at Christmas, can I encourage you to contact your local Queensland Baptist church to find when their Christmas service is on? Not sure which church? Chat to one of our Carinity chaplains or contact me for details. And Merry Christmas to all our Carinity staff, clients, residents, students, families, and supporters!

DAN LYONS, Director of Mission

 

Read more stories from Belong: Spring 2023 | Edition 31