By Pastor Victor C Ubani

Christmastime is a season of great joy, goodwill and celebration! But this joy and celebration will be hollow if we fail to discern the "who", the “what” and the "why" behind “Christmas”.

Who are we celebrating at Christmas? Why are we celebrating this obviously important person? Why the Christmas dinners, the exchange of gifts, the rejoicing, the colourful decorations and the general sense of goodwill all around?

In a nutshell: Jesus the CHRIST!

Jesus Christ gives Christmas its meaning: God our Creator has stepped out of eternity and into time in human form! A Saviour is born; the Redeemer has come to buy our freedom from sin and give us peace. How appropriate it was therefore that on that Holy night the angel should make a proclamation of joy to the world, as he heralded the birth of the most important person to ever enter the history of humankind. For the news of His coming and what He is to accomplish was to forever be humanity’s source of purest joy, peace and hope!

“The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city.” (Luke 2:10–11, GW)

At Christmas the entire world is suddenly enwrapped in the spirit of love and of joy just as the angels declared on that first Christmas. And despite the commercialisation of the celebrations today, it is by no means a contrivance or coincidence that there is such an atmosphere of joy, hope, goodwill and love associated with “Christ-mass”.

Ultimately, the "idea" of Christmas is God's. It is written that, "when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons." (Galatians 4:4-5). This is not man's invention and not pagan. It is a celebration of the works of God!

The "good news" and "great joy" which the birth of Christ represents must then have pride of place and take centre stage in everything we do, not only at this unique date reserved for special celebration, but all year long and for all time. The scripture says in John’s Gospel:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16, NIV)

Dear Christian, as we exchange gifts this Christmastime, and give at other times also as we ought to, let us endeavour to imitate God our Father by giving with a sustained expression of the motive for which He gave the precious gift which we received from Him at that first Christmas: "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:11, NIV). The joy of the new and living way which Christ has opened to us for unfettered access to the Father should now fill us with comfort and joy.

At the heart of Christmas is Christ and His love: anything less is alien to the Christian's renewed mind. Jesus Christ is the precious gift sent by God Himself to meet man's greatest need - eternal Life.

Rejoice! It's all about Jesus Christ, who is the express revelation of the Father’s love for us.

May the life of Christ shine like light through you this Christmastime to powerfully impact someone's else’s life as you express unconditional love and kindness!

Have a very Merry Christmas!