I wish to propose that the date of Christmas be changed from 25 December to 1 January. Let me explain my reason. At Christmas, we focus on a baby. How people love to worship at the feet of baby Jesus. Certainly, we get caught up in a medley of Christianity, sentimentality, emotionalism, false concepts of Who Christ truly is, materialism and self-sacrificing or self-serving. It can feel so good, so non-threatening, so comforting to give one’s attention to “Emmanuel, God With Us”. Yet within days, or even hours this Christ Baby is packed away with all our “loot” of gifts, the decorations, the food left-overs, until the next 25th December. The focus is now on the next celebration; New Year’s Eve. A baby has no place here. People want to party, to forget and bury the old year, with its disappointments, and failures, and to bring in the new and hopefully better one. Some have given in to the oppression of hopelessness, glad that the present is finally over, yet not daring to expect anything different in the future.
But most consider, in the privacy of their mind the possibility of change. So we set New Year’s resolutions, plans and goals. As believers, we resolve before God to do better; to change; to overcome our habits or addictions; to be nicer, kinder, or have a “quiet time” each morning. We enlist His help, for we know our track record of blowing it. The baby has gone from our panorama and in its place we need an all-powerful, strong God. We need Him to co-operate with us in our plans, goals, and dreams. This year will be different.
But how will we be different? Because we are more determined? Are stronger? Have new strategies? Has this worked in the past? Yes, we do need to change; the question is how?
Spiritual change and growth is always a paradox. The way down is the way up; the way out is the way in, to die is the way to live, to be empty is the way be full, to be thirsty is to be satisfied; to be weak is to know strength and to become as a baby is the way to maturity. For a baby is naked and has nothing; Christ, in coming to earth emptied Himself of His Glory, wrapping Himself in human form. In Absolute humility he became dependent on the Father; and as He grew, He never uttered a word, performed an action, or thought a thought that did not originate from His Father. All He did He never did; it was the Father working through Him. The One who did everything, did nothing.
Many Christians fail to mature because they are not willing to begin as Christ did, as a baby. They want instant maturity; or at least to begin as a spiritual teenager, full of pride and independence. They will not become “as a little child” (Mark 10:15), let alone as a baby.
How do I change? How do I go into a New Year with hope and joy? Changing the date of Christmas will not help; but in my heart I can keep my focus on Christ the Baby and wonder at His humility; I can humble myself before Him, and acknowledge “I Have nothing; I am weak; I can do nothing. I absolutely need You.” He is to me, Emmanuel, “God With Us”, that He might be Christ, “God in Us” through the indwelling Presence of His Life through the Holy Spirit.
I do not want to worship a baby; but I desire to worship Christ, God revealed, the Living Word, Prophet, Priest, King, Ruler, Saviour. Let’s begin where He began; and remain in His humility in each moment of the New Year. As we exchange our self-efforts for His Life, He will grow in us and we in Him into maturity.
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I would speak. John 12:49
The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do…I can of my own self do nothing John 5:19,30
Linda Guy. 32 Anaheim Blvd., Howick. Auckland. New Zealand. [email protected]