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What Does Christmas Mean to You this Year?

29 December 2021

Christmas marks the end of the year for many. It's a time to wind down from work, to celebrate, setting up the Christmas tree, Christmas shopping and before the restrictions of Covid19, the much-awaited year-end travelling.

This is my 52nd Christmas, and the question I have for myself this year is “what does Christmas truly mean to me?”. Where is the excitement I had as a child, a teenager and even as a young adult? Reading through a Christmas devotional has reminded me what Christmas means. Here are three points that resonated with me.

Christmas requires our personal response to Jesus. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14, NIV). Matthew goes on to explain that Immanuel means God with us (Matt 1:23). The Magi from the east travelled a great distance to seek Immanuel out and to worship him. The humble shepherds glorified God, rejoicing after they had seen Jesus. Yet the religious leaders ignored Jesus' despite knowing the prophecies whilst Herod sought to kill him.

Whilst you may have received Jesus as your Saviour, do you daily accord to him the reception due to the King of kings and Lord of lords? I am sorry that in so many ways, I have failed to let Christ lead and have instead, run ahead of him.

Christmas requires our personal submission to God's plans. I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts that raced through Mary's mind when told that she would be the vessel for Jesus' conception. On one hand, it would have been great joy and excitement, and yet on the other, fear and uncertainty of Joseph and the community's response to her pre-marital pregnancy. Yet Mary calmly accepted God's plan for her: "I am the Lord's servant… May your word to me be fulfilled." (Luke 1:38)

God has plans for each one of us which manyatimes would entail difficulties and challenges. Will you trust and submit to God's great plans for you? I am personally mindful that His plans will be fulfilled with or without my participation.

Christmas requires our personal joyous response. Do you remember a character named Simeon? He eagerly awaited the "consolation of Israel", and when he finally saw Jesus, he took him in his arms. The extent of his joy is reflected in his praise, " may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the gentiles, and glory of your people Israel." (Luke 2).

Covid19 is a dampener, and has caused grief to many. 2022 is increasingly uncertain as three words are repeated in the news: Omicron, Evergrande and Inflation. But lest we get distracted by these uncertainties, or the mirth of the season, let us embrace Jesus as our only hope and joy; Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

Dn. Kenny Khoo

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