10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:10-12 NIV
Initially I wanted to write a piece pertaining to the Walter Scott mistrial, mainly because I am extremely passionate about social justice. The number of shooting deaths of African American men and women that have come at the hands of law enforcement is far too great. The number of African American men and women who have died in police custody is far too great. When these cases are tried and officers are not convicted I wonder is justice being served? When a man is seen fleeing from an officer on video is he really a threat at that point? Is there a possibility that these incidents could have been handled differently?
Thinking about the memory of Walter Scott I cant help but remember: Dontre Hamilton, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray and all the other people of color who wont see Christmas 2016. In remembering those who have been lost either by a police shooting or while in police custody or as a result of black on black crime I am saddened. Through my sadness I keep telling myself that Jesus is at the heart of every Christmas.
In Luke 2:10 the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people." In 2016 in spite of tragedy, corruption, despair, and chaos we should not be afraid because Jesus is still bringing great joy for all the people. Proverbs 3:5 instructs us as believers to, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
Christmas is a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus Christ. History records that Christmas evolved over two millennia into a worldwide religious and secular celebration, incorporating many pre Christian, pagan traditions into the festivities along the way. Whether one is Christian or non Christian I believe that Christmas is a time for family and friends to get together and celebrate. People get together and celebrate making it through another year. People get together and are happy to see family and friends they may not have seen all year or in several years. Along with getting together and celebrating friends and family often exchange gifts with one another. The gift exchange aspect of Christmas is fantastic if one is financially able to do so. However, if one is not able to give gifts they should not become stressed, or depressed. Instead they should rejoice because they are blessed. They are blessed because God gave us the greatest gift we could have ever received in Jesus Christ.
Receiving gifts such as: new colognes, perfumes, televisions, gift cards, bicycles, sneakers, video games, watches, appliances and jewelry are wonderful. Gifts have the capability to make us feel special, appreciated and loved. Having the resources to give gifts on Christmas is a blessing and testament to God being a provider. On the contrary if one is not in a position to give a gift or receive a gift on Christmas God is still a provider. If in this holiday season your nickels are fickle, your dollars don't want to holler, or your change is strange give someone Jesus. Giving Jesus to someone means sharing what Jesus has done on the cross for the remission of the sins of humanity. Giving someone Jesus means letting them know that they may not have all the money they desire to have, but JESUS!
The but JESUS is the fact that Jesus still: woke you up this morning, put food in your belly, gave you a job to go to, surrounded you with love, granted you mercy, and gave you a conduit to have a relationship with God. When you give someone Jesus during this time of year you show them that Christmas is about Jesus and not material things. When you give someone Jesus you give them someone who is Divine and will be with them all the time. Jesus wont break, Jesus wont get old, Jesus wont get stale, Jesus wont collect dust, Jesus went rust, Jesus wont shrink, Jesus wont lose value, Jesus wont let you down. Giving someone Jesus can lay the foundation for a friendship that may last a lifetime. Sharing Jesus during the holiday season may save a lost soul. Giving someone Jesus during the holiday season may provide them with the best gift they ever received and influence them to give Jesus to someone else in the future.
As I close this blog I would like to acknowledge those who may be struggling during this time of year. Someone may be struggling financially, emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually. This time of year people do crazy things like robbing and killing to get gifts for people. I pray everyone stays safe and continue to pray for those who see a need in taking from others. In this season someone is dealing with the loss of a loved one and I pray that they find comfort in Christ. During this season someone will have to spend Christmas in the hospital. I pray that the Lord sends angels to lift their spirits and people to remind them of the love of Christ. I encourage you to share your thoughts about Christmas in the comments section below. I have provided a few questions to guide you but you don't have to answer them. I am interested to know your thoughts on Christmas if you care to share. Keep in mind I will be doing a $100 Can I Get A Word Christmas raffle give away on Christmas day. Names of all of those who participate in the comments section of this blog will be entered into a drawing. On Christmas day a name will blindly be pulled from a hat and the winner will be notified so STAY TUNED!!!
1. What are you looking forward to this Christmas?
2. Why do you celebrate Christmas?
3. What does Christmas mean to you?
4. Is Christmas overrated?
5. What role does Jesus Christ play in Christmas for you?
6. What do you plan to do this Christmas to be a blessing to someone else?