Peace to you and Grace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
The Conference of Churches Grenada takes this opportunity to extend Christmas greetings to all, as we celebrate the Christ-Event.
A survey of the contemporary thoughts surrounding the celebration of this Christian Festival raises grave concerns for the Conference. As one peruses the many facets of the media, the various understandings of Christmas demonstrate a disconnect with the Christ-Event.
One hears opinions like “Christmas is all about the children, the giving of gifts and making them happy”. There are those who speak about putting Christ back into the celebration and, with the same breath, will speak about “happy holiday” as opposed to “happy Christmas or merry Christmas” or, even “joyous Christmas”.
Even when some speak about “getting in the spirit of Christmas” or “catching the spirit of Christmas” they are really advocating getting into a celebratory mode for the consumption (or should I say, the over-consumption) of food and drink and robust merrymaking, with little or no God-reference.
What then should be a means to an end, has become an end in itself – the merry making, the giving of gifts, the getting together of families and friends, the joyful exchange of compliments for the season and even church attendance by some.
It’s no mystery therefore why some people of goodwill at this time, shortly after become people of ill-will. They totally miss the relevance of God’s eschatological self-disclosure in the Christ
Event – His Righteousness, His act of Salvation: The Incarnation – God becoming man and dwelling among us; and, the significance of this for human relationship with God.
The Conference is also concerned about the global and local context of our daily living. Globally, apprehension is raised over the constant shifting of moral boundaries where right and wrong are relative; and persons of authority determine truth according to their whims and fancy and labelling what does not meet their approval “Fake News”.
This new phenomenon has emboldened some to use the electronic technology to brazenly propagate untruths as truths, even to the detriment of others and the environment.
Locally there is anxiety over the rise in heinous crimes committed against minors and other acts of violence. In short, we seem to be living as lords unto ourselves forgetting that we are accountable to a power higher than ourselves.
The Conference therefore feels it necessary that, as a Christian nation, we must once again recapture the essence and meaning of the Christmas celebration. We recognise and acknowledge that it is our duty and responsibility to proclaim the Good News of God’s unspeakable gift of Salvation to all people, who are the object of His favour in Christ and, to encourage and to challenge all of us to embrace this gift of atonement, of returning to the original relationship with God, living in His presence as man first did in the Genesis.
As individuals, as families and as a Nation let us be reminded that we were created to live all of life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, by the Word of God and, to the Glory of God.
We were created to live all of life before the face of God, knowing that nothing in our lives is secular or separated from the sight of God because all of life is sacred. To do otherwise is sacrilege.
This season should remind us forcefully that, while we were yet estranged from God, He reached out to us in reconciling compassion through the mystery of the Incarnation. He gave his only Son so that whosoever believes in him may have life in all its fullness.
The reminder of this gift – while highlighting the freedom of choice – also underscores the consequences of choice. Thus, the season of Christmas recalls not just the birth of Jesus Christ but also his second coming – when he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
It also highlights some truths and realities for believers in Christ as they await his second coming.
Many persons have forgotten the judgment or have simply dismissed it as nothing more than a fairy tale for the unlearned. In fact, for many God is recreated according to their dictates and is relegated to nothing more than an impotent puppet fulfilling their wants and fancies, on their own terms. Yet Holy Scripture has repeatedly affirmed God to be otherwise.
Both Scripture and experience have shown God to be a God who acts according to HIS will, fulfilling HIS purpose and keeping HIS word. His word speaks of a Judgment and an eternal death and destruction that hang over the head of all.
However, eternal death and destruction is not the last word of God. The GOOD NEWS is that there is Eternal Life in the Christ-Event inaugurated by the birth of Jesus the Christ. And that is what we joyfully celebrate every Christmas – the putting into action God’s plan of eternal life for all, an alternative to eternal death and destruction.
As we await the culmination of God’s plan, the Church by the inclusion of the observance of the Martyrdom of Stephen, the life of St. John the Apostle and the Slaughter of The Innocents in the Christmas Season reminds of three important aspects of our waiting:
(1). Like Stephen, we must be willing to defend our faith even in the face of physical death.
(2). We must share the GOOD NEWS of God’s salvation in Christ with all and sundry.
(3). We must know that no matter how elaborate man’s scheme might be, man cannot thwart God’s plans.
The Conference therefore believes it prudent that, as a Nation, we should contemplate Eternity and be guided by it in all our activities, not only at this time but, throughout our lives.
We wish you the hope, peace, joy, love and abundant life which the Christ offers through redemption and may we all celebrate the Christ-Event, accepting the gift of Eternal Life and receive God’s blessings as one People, one Family, one Nation.
May God bless us all!