ADVENT REFLECTION // WEEK THREE
By Maxon Mani, Principal Elect
Christian Leaders Training College (CLTC), Papua New Guinea
LeaDev-Langham Programme Partner
Christmas Reflections – The Joy of Commitment
What do we mean when we talk of Christmas? In a world too obsessed with gift giving and receiving, this sort of question is pointless, because the answer is too obvious. For some it is about the birth of Christ, to others it may be religious festivities, yet for many it is a time for giving and receiving gifts, and for those out the church it is a time to make a little more money or partying. For one, Nathan J. Thomas, “The real meaning of Christmas is that you and I matter to God; we really do. We matter to God so much that he sent his very own Son, Jesus, to earth to let us know how much we matter to him; that’s the real message of Christmas.”
From Thomas’s reflection we can deduce that, though the Christmas story is about God’s favour toward humankind, Christmas is also about God. Let us turn our eyes away from the recipients of Christmas favour to the giver, what picture does Christmas paint about God? If the event of Christmas is a result of the enshrined promises in the Word of God, such as Isaiah 7:14
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with a child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.”
The implication is if the promise will fulfill it must be first of all a ‘Commitment’ made to oneself, to making sure it is fulfilled. This means the recipient receives favour because the giver is committed to him or herself, and not necessarily compelled by any form or shape of inducement from the receiver. Such is the Christmas story, a story of God’s immutable ‘Commitment’ to himself, and for our good.
In a world where ‘Commitment’ is ruled by the principle of ‘reciprocity’ where do we stand as Christians? For God, the Christmas story was based on his immutable character, a ‘Commitment’ to himself. We are recipients of that immutable ‘Commitment.’ It is a kind of love that sees beyond who we are and embraces us, a kind of love that looks not for its own benefit but sacrifices itself for the benefit of another. This calls for God-like reflective ‘commitment’ to our many relationships, to our spouses, our children, our colleagues, our parents etc. this Christmas. Such commitment brings the joy we so desperately need.