QUITE A LOT OF FOLKS of various religions—Christianity inclusive and in particular—merely take pleasure in wishing others a “merry Christmas” while living without Christ whom they claim Christmas is all about. How awkward! Merriment without Christ? No, that’s not real! Do not be deceived, there is really nothing to be merry about without Christ. Life without Christ is a miserable one which will lead to a more miserable eternity without Christ. “And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:18-20). Sin messes you up, makes you miserable and leads to eternal perdition in hell. And I tell you, as the Bible reveals, there is nothing to be merry about in hell. Absolutely! “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev.20:10 & 15).
Hey! Take note of this please: it is not wishing others a merry Christmas or even supposedly celebrating it that endears anyone to God or that guarantees eternal merriment for any either. Nay rather, it is receiving Christ and staying with Him that does. A sinful life really knows no true merriment but real misery (though a sinner may pretend to be merry). It’s deep down within—the guilt, shame, unuttered pain and misery. On the other hand, heaven is merry when a sinner comes out of the misery of sin into the true life of merriment (peace and joy within the heart and soul) which only Christ offers. “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” (Luke15:7).
This is why you need to respond to the Saviour’s call: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat. 11:28-30) Have you?
Moreover, the Kingdom of God is not all about physical merriment in wantonness, drunkenness, outrageous/flamboyant partying and wasteful spending in the name of celebration which is what we see characterizing most of the so-called Christmas celebrations today. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”(Rom.14:17). “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”(Luke 21:34).
Let’s take a cue from Jesus Himself. We find no record of where He celebrated even His own birthday. He was so consumed with His Father’s business. He was overwhelmed with the compassion for the people who were spiritually poor, needy, hopeless and straying like sheep without shepherd. He spent His dawns communing with the Father; His days finding the lost to save, heal, help and provide for their needs (including feeding them physically and miraculously when necessary); and His nights He spent in ceaseless prayers to the Father. Any other thing outside this was regarded as a waste of time. Now, how do we say we are Christians—“Christ-like”, “Christ’s followers”, “Christ’s disciples” or “little Christs”—and yet do otherwise? Any “celebration” in the name of Christ should be done as Christ would have done it—with reference, awe, worship, prayer, seeking the lost, seeking God’s glory and power to be manifested, seeking His will to be done and seeking His Kingdom to come and be established on earth. Only the wise will heed the words of wisdom.
Oore-ofe A. Ariyo.