In Celebration and Remembrance
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, they said. That is true, many people have gone beyond their means to spend money on gifts and preparation for the food on Christmas Eve to make it a memorable “holiday” season. Most people have shouldered and vowed to do kind deeds since it’s nearing Christmas. Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year wherein almost everyone is encouraged to have a loving and cheerful spirit.
But what is Christmas, really?
Everybody is guilty of being busy this season, a lot of preparations and a bunch of Christmas cheer to pack that we forget the real meaning of Christmas: Jesus Christ’s birth. The Advent season wherein we remember and celebrate the coming of the Messiah that was promised years ago, and Jesus’ birth being the fulfillment of the prophecy to all mankind, not as a Judge but as a Saviour.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed”
The coming of Jesus Christ has been the redeeming promise of God to His people— an intercessor between the Father and His children. The promised salvation that when God in His holiness and wrath sees us drenched and covered in sin, His wrath will be diverted and He will remember our sins no more because Christ became the sacrificial Lamb, the only righteous and final atonement for our sins.
Christmas, or the celebration of Jesus’ birth and coming here on Earth, won’t be good news if we don’t acknowledge that in our natural element as sinners, we are aware that what we all deserve is to die and suffer eternal damnation. There would be absolutely nothing to celebrate if Christ didn’t rise from the dead. But praise be to God, Jesus rose again from His tomb on the 3rd day.
14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hopeb]”>[b] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
//1 Corinthians 15:14-20
Out faith on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour would be a fraud if Jesus died. Christianity in all its authenticity of God saving mankind though He could just let us perish, would all be void. But there is a redeeming fact on verse 20: “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” He is very much alive and risen, and so our hope lives on! He rose again after “sleeping” for a little while, to give us hope that God did not left us with nothing, instead He gave us a choice to choose and follow Him. He is the first fruit for those who have fallen “asleep”, and soon people will gather and be raised from the dead. There is life after this life.
Let us therefore, in reverence and awe, prepare our hearts and immerse ourselves into grasping the anticipation of God’s people in waiting for the promised Saviour who will save mankind from God’s eternal wrath; The foretold prophecy years before Jesus was born, and the very reason why we savor the goodness and grace of God.
“O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel”
May we prepare our hearts and remember the real reason behind the cheery and warmhearted season, and that is God’s great gift to us: salvation and reconciliation in God through Jesus Christ.
Rizia B. Paragas is the Publications Team Leader of True Love Waits Philippines. She is a mental health advocate that loves singing, reading and writing. Her ideal rest day is appreciating God’s masterpiece through hiking and swimming on deep ocean waters.