Christmas Or Xmas?: Putting The Season In Proper Perspective
By Joseph Jerry Umaru(Joseph2Nations@yahoo.com )
***Permission and encouragement to reproduce and re-transmit this article is hereby granted, but only in its entirety, including author’s name and contact details at the end of the article, and without any alterations.
Anytime I reflect on the prophetic words of the prophet Isaiah in the ninth chapter of his Book, it always fills and engulfs me with such a thrilling awe:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, He will reign on David’s throne and over his Kingdom, establishing it with justice and righteousness from that on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7 KJV/NIV).
It’s December, and it’s Christmas Season once again! A Season in which Christians all over the world celebrates the humble but glorious Birth of Jesus Christ in a seemingly unattractive Bethlehem manger over two thousand years ago.
That single Birth changed the world: history-wise, calendar/dating system-wise and civilization-wise. It has also continued to change lives and transform hearts till date…
Nigerian music minister; Panam Percy Paul once sang: “Jesus came down, He came down from Heaven…When He landed, He landed in Israel...”
O yes, He landed in a humble Bethlehem manger and as He landed, a bright star shone vividly in the eastern sky, heralding His glorious Birth and thus beginning His hallowed mission to earth as a great Teacher, Healer, Servant and Saviour of mankind.
Indubitably, such a glorious and majestic birth of a great Saviour is worth celebrating with ‘fanfare and frenzy’ – but not as it is being done in many quarters these days.
About two years ago, a dear and long-time friend of mine; Gary Lynn Smith of Illinois, USA brought my attention to the fact that Christians should not join the world system in abbreviating the word “Christmas” to “Xmas” because, abbreviating it that way effectively strikes out “Christ” (Messiah) from the “Mass” (celebration). How profound and revealing!
Be that as it may, kindly permit me to also admonish us here that we (Christians) should not just stop at not imitating the world in spelling “Christmas” as “Xmas”; let’s also consider the ways and manner in which we go about celebrating Christmas.
Pardon me if I am wrong, but I make bold to say; the Church has in recent times been celebrating “Christmas” as “Xmas” – a celebration without Christ (so to speak). We have inadvertently remove Christ in our celebration of the Season.
The pathetic trend Christmas celebrations have taken over the years is really disturbing. People celebrate the Season without realizing the Reason (Christ) for the Season. How sad. How very sad. It’s really grievous to see how many gets so busy at the end of the year celebrating Christmas without remembering why we are celebrating. It’s like having your birthday and everyone celebrates but ignores you- the real celebrant. The “holidays” no longer reflect the true meaning of Christmas…
Father Christmas (Santa Claus) rather than ‘Baby Jesus’ seems to have become the “center of gravity” of the Christmas Season. God have mercy on us.
Let’s consider our ways and make amends where necessary.
Am I in any way saying Christmas should not be celebrated with fanfare? NO, and a thousand times NO! But, in celebrating the Season we must not forget the REASON for the Season.
The Reason for the Season is Jesus Christ – The ultimate Star of the divine story started in Genesis Chapter One and ended in Revelation Chapter Twenty-Two.
In celebrating the Birthday (Christmas), we must not ignore/forget the Chief Celebrant (Jesus). We must also not forget the eternal intent behind His miraculous Birth – God’s everlasting purpose to redeem a people to and for Himself through the Birth, death and Resurrection of His Son at a recorded moment in history.
Jesus, the immortal Son of an immortal God became mortal to give us immortality. How wonderful! This amazing revelation truth sounds too good to be true, but yet too good not to be true! I stand in awe of Jesus’ love for me. Let’s give Him praise for He is worthy! Hallelujah to the Lamb of God! Amen.
This Christmas, let’s spread and act the message of His love. Let us share the gift of God’s love by giving of ourselves and sharing generously with those in need. Let’s reach out to those who are different from us, yet one in the human family. There are lots of hurting people around us who need our love and comfort, and this Christmas presents us with an opportunity to show them that love.
All around us this Christmas, there will be those less fortunate than we are. In the true spirit of the Season, let’s extend a helping hand to those in need –the widows, the orphans, the prisoners, the rejected, the sick, the aged, the hungry etc. Let’s act like that Biblical Good Samaritan.
Let’s also carry with us and spread Christ’s timeless message of peace – He is the Prince of Peace.
This Christmas, as we visit loved ones, travel to our native cities, towns, villages and hamlets to celebrate Christmas, let us like Jesus, become true peacemakers – bringing peace and reconciliation, ending old and new quarrels/conflicts that might have existed in our families and communities. (See 2Corinthians 5:18 -19).
OK! Having put the Season into proper perspective, kindly and patiently follow me now to my native village of Manyisa in a remote and obscure part of Africa as I pick a Nupe traditional trumpet (Nupe is my ethnic group), and use that Nupe trumpet to sound a thunderous Christmas appeal: IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME, LET’S CELEBRATE!!! Let’s celebrate Emmanuel, the God that is ever with us. Let’s celebrate the given Son of God who is called; Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Let’s celebrate the Messiah on whose shoulder lays the Government.
Hey, come let’s celebrate Jesus! Let’s make much of Him and His principles this Season. Though the world may not know why we make so much of Jesus…
**Dr. Selwyn Hughes corroborates this fact in the September 30, 2008 issue of Every Day With Jesus, when he wrote: “People who don’t know Christ often wonder why we make so much of Jesus. If only they could know the joy of abundant living, of sins forgiven, and, as the old hymn so beautifully puts it, ‘of hell subdued and Heaven begun’”.
So, we got to let the world know more than ever before that Jesus is the ONLY way to God, He is the Truth and He is the Life. O yes, let’s make so much of the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. Let’s make much of His love and salvation message this Season.
Christmas! Christmas!! O yes, Christmas!!! What an awesome reminder of God’s infinite love for humanity. God, through His Son became human in order to makes us gods! What a gracious God we serve!
Christmas, what an awesome wonder… What a love demonstrated! As one writer poetically puts it: “The Son of God became the Son of Man in order that the sons of men might become the sons of God”. How wonderful! How marvelous!!
On behalf of myself and the entire Joseph2Nations Internet/Writing Outreach Team, I am wishing you all a joy-filled, Christ-centered Christmas and a God-directed, purpose-driven 2009.
Happy Christmas and a fulfilling New Year ahead.
**Selwyn Hughes quoted with the permission of CWR, London, UK
I felt it will be improper of me to end the year without expressing my profound thanks and gratitude to all those who have stood with me and by me in the course of my Internet and Writing Outreach. My elder brother; Mr. John Umaru, his wife; Mrs. Dorcas F. Umaru, and my brother-in-law; Mr. Joseph Jiya leads the pack.
All through the year, prayers, counsels, moral encouragements and financial seeds (support) kept rolling and pouring in both from within and outside my country from people who have been imparted/impacted by my writings cum outreach on the Internet. Such supports have also been coming from those who believe in God’s unfolding and evolving call upon my life…
To All These People I Say: Thank you and may you reap bountifully from your seeds of love – Yes, every soul saved and affected as a result of my writings and outreach will be credited to your Heavenly accounts because of the different kinds of seeds you have sown!
You will all share in the rewards for the precious souls being touched and saved by my writings and Internet Outreach ‘ministry’ (a rather unconventional and not-too fashionable/‘glamourizing’ ministry).
Thus far, 2008 has been an amazing year of writing and Internet outreach for me and my team. Through your prayers, supports, counsels and encouragements, the Lord has helped us (you and I) to break new grounds, touch lives and defy barriers (such as strict censorship of the Gospel in some nations) to spread Christ’s message of love and salvation via Internet technology.
The year under review has been quite a modest success story for us! My mailing list has more than doubled to over two thousand, and the hits (visitors) to my WebPages have almost tripled compared to last year.
HEAR THIS: At a particular time within this year, my articles and writings were being translated into Spanish in far away communist Cuba! SEE WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE!!!
Also, some men and women of God overseas have also been graciously placing (posting) some of my articles on their ‘ever busy’ websites – thus stupendously increasing my readership base and outreach coverage.
All the more, the Lord has in the course of my outreach on the Internet connected me with some notable ministers of the Gospel both within and outside Africa.
Added to all these; a Christian Sister in Chicago, USA have also been printing some of my works (write-ups) and sending them to a particular prison inmate over there in the State of Illinois, USA, and the inmate and I have been in regular touch with each other through postal mail.
“O magnify [glorify] the LORD with me, and let us exalt His Name together.”(Psalms 34:3).
As at last count, I have received either emails, phone calls, text messages or postal mails from nearly every continent and sub-continent on earth from people calling in, texting in, emailing in or writing in through the post to tell me how greatly the Lord has used my writings and outreach on the Internet to bless and encourage their lives. I am really puzzled!
As Brother Lawrence once said: “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed”.
And sure, the Lord has really ‘multiplied’ my little contribution in the service of touching and winning souls for Him through writings and the Internet…
What started as a hobby and a pastime resulting from what one might call a divinely-orchestrated “joblessness” is gradually evolving into a global outreach ministry!
We are NOT there yet – I count not myself to have apprehended. This is just the beginning, as there are still many grounds to be conquered and countless souls to be touched for Christ.
Apart from posting my articles on my WebPages and also emailing them to the over two thousand people on my mailing list, I have also been re-producing the articles in a kind of a bulletin format for free distribution here in my country – and the feedbacks/responses I have been receiving are quite phenomenal.
However, there are those who have advised me to improve on the packaging of the hard copy publications by having them printed in a proper newsletter or magazine format instead of printing them on plain papers as I am currently doing. They reasoned that; improving the packaging would ‘add value’ to the work and increase the appeal to read it.
I am considering that possibility and will table it before the Father of the heavenly light for direction.
If the Lord is speaking to your heart or leading you to be involved or partner with us in anyway in furthering what the Lord is doing through Joseph2Nations Internet/Writing Outreach, do get across to us through email, phone call, our WebPages or postal address.
I strongly believe that the Lord is this end-time raising an Army of ministers and partners that the devil can’t intimidate or scare. An Army that will walk right into the jaws of hell and snatch souls out of judgment and over into the kingdom and glory of God – yes, they will plunder hell in order to populate Heaven! Together we shall spread the love and the salvation message of Jesus to the nations.
I may continue or discontinue the release of regular monthly articles depending on what or how the Lord directs/instructs before the New Year – Am just a mere clay in the Hands of the Master Potter.
One thing is however certain: I will continue to press on towards the mark of the high calling of God upon my life wherever, whenever and whichever way the Lord directs…
I will continue to Speak and Declare Boldly Concerning The Things Of God And The Revelations Of Christ Being Received In The Name Of The Lord Jesus – To The Nations…
I will continue to proclaim The Kingdom…The Power... and The Glory of The Lord To The Nations of The World in whatever way, wherever and however the Lord directs me to!
Thank you partners for your continued prayers and support. I look forward to doing more as touching Kingdom Service in the years to come.
See you in 2009.
_____Joseph Jerry Umaru
Emails: Joseph2Nations@yahoo.com, Josephdegreat@yahoo.com,
Phone: (+234)-8036-814-178 and (+234)-8052-917-334
For More of My Articles& Writings Visit: www.blog.MySpace.com/joseph2nations
Joseph2Nations – Speaking and Declaring Boldly Concerning The Things Of God, And The Revelations Of Christ Being Received In The Name Of The Lord Jesus – To The Nations…