In our first series on this theme, we said that the essence of Christmas would be lost unless the reality of who Christ is, and why he came and died, are known to human hearts. John Piper wrote that “The meaning of Christmas is not only that God replaces shadows with Reality, but also that he takes the Reality and makes it real to his people.” Christ is the reality of Christmas, and knowing Him and why He came will make all the difference to us.
Perhaps, no other time has life lost its meaning and people have felt so miserable, and lost faith in their leaders than it is now in Nigeria. The daily headlines of the newspapers reveal the level of frustration and why there is palpable anxiety in the land. The news headlines from the Nigerian Security Tracker reveals the disturbing level of insecurity around us.
“3,125 killed, 2,703 abducted in 11 months, VIPs knock FG.” Then this other statistics from Kaduna State Government, “888 people were killed and 2,553 others kidnapped in the state between January and September 2021.”
Again we read, “State Governors of Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, Taraba and Nasarawa have collectively visited the Head of State,” to appeal for assistance to tackle the insecurity problems that have overwhelmed them.
Against this backdrop, Jesus Christ presents an alternative and contrast to the gloominess of these times. John 10:10 reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). Even in the midst of the gloom, Jesus can give us life.
In place of gloom, Jesus came to give us joy. In place of darkness, he came to give us light. The times preceding the birth of Christ was equally a time of great gloom and despair, but the arrival of Jesus changed the situation. Isaiah records the despair and gloom that preceded the birth of Jesus and the joy and hope which the Messiah brought.
“They will go from one place to another, weary and hungry. And because they are hungry, they will rage and curse their king and their God. They will look up to heaven and down at the earth, but wherever they look, there will be trouble and anguish and dark despair. They will be thrown out into the darkness. Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory” (Isaiah 8:21-9:2 NLT).
Christmas is a time when we should invite Jesus to take a front seat in the situation that bothers us. Just as He turned the gloom of his day into joy, His presence in our lives and nation can change the atmosphere.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember that the incarnation is all about God becoming man in order to live on this earth with sinners; it is about the coming of Jesus from heaven to give us freedom from anxiety and fear of insecurity. Therefore we must not be dominated by the fear of death. We shall not live on earth forever. We shall all die someday. Why live in the bondage of fear when we know that we shall end up in eternity with Christ?