Christmas Miracle brings Light into our Lives
The birth of the Saviour is a miracle that brings us hope, as WINNIE GRAHAM explains. Christmas is a-coming, the goose is getting fat. Why not put a penny in the old man’s hat?
The celebration of Christ’s birthday may have become a huge commercial enterprise despised by the religiously fervent yet it remains an excellent reminder to rejoice in the anniversary of our Saviour’s birthday.
Does it really matter that it takes hours of shopping for gifts to get people to think about the real meaning of Christmas particularly when all those hours spent in shops were made with the needs of loved ones in mind?
It has special meaning for youngsters, and for parents who are keen to pass on their faith and culture to their children. And what could be more enjoyable than sharing a gift and meal with family and friends?
Though Christians like to think of Christmas as their celebration, it has much in common with the Muslim faith, and also the Jewish Passover. The world’s three main religions Christianity, Islam and Judaism all worship one God, our Almighty Father.
While the adherents of these religions may not all celebrate Christmas as Christians do, they too rejoice in the family time it makes available. And, along with the goodwill this generates, they share in the miracles their faith gives them.
At Christmas it is appropriate to examine the impact of Christ’s birth in a manger more than 2000 years ago.
In South Africa, perhaps the most startling reminder of a modern miracle was the release of Nelson Mandela some years ago. He lived long enough to see the emergence of a new order which, despite ongoing political and social tribulations, remains one of the world’s greatest achievements.
The challenges that have since emerged crime and unemployment remain a constant reminder that peace on its own is not simply a gift. It is a goal to strive towards.
Miracles, in fact, happen every day but few recognise them. Some are big, some small, many almost insignificant.
A mother, for instance, would call it a miracle if her daughter passes an examination without studying. A father would regard it as a miracle if his son makes the soccer team without practice. These are small events in the life of a family, but they are there to affirm our faith and bring joy, for miracles are always associated with good news.
The New Testament lists numerous miracles performed by Christ as he wandered around his country preaching and healing people. He restored sight to the blind, told the crippled to toss aside their crutches and walk, and the dead to arise. He multiplied the loaves and the fishes and calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee. All are thrilling miracles.
Yet, when he was arrested and condemned to death, he did not ask Almighty God to release him from the anguish he knew he was to endure. He prayed instead for strength to carry his cross.
His actions provide role models for all people who hope to escape the pain their problems bring. Suffering is almost an inevitable part of life just as the giving and receiving of forgiveness also is. With it emerges our humanity, and an element of humility as we recognise our need of a greater power than our own.
We may have a cross to carry, but we also have Christmas to bring light and laughter into our homes.
An essential goodness exists among all people. It’s a sort of shared morality that may take something of a miracle to emerge. Sometimes it is more apparent on the holiest days on the Christian calendar. But it is not simply a religious anniversary such as Christmas that should encourage a love of our fellowman. It should be a habit for all, a fact that is obvious on every day of the year.
Christ’s simple message, love one another as I have loved you (Jn 13:34), was not a sentimental cry but a practical call to help those in need, to sustain the hungry and clothe the poor. It calls on all to show our concern for our fellow man. Those who heed it are part of the miracle that sustains us.
A huge miracle is needed to create employment for the millions of young people in search of jobs. The world recession has taken its toll with far too many struggling to survive. The prolonged drought is compounding the problem. The maize crop failed and with it came the fear that the price of South Africa’s staple food will rise. The shortage of water is an ongoing concern, as is the ever-increasing price of electricity.
But all is not bad news. In a South Africa beset with problems, another little miracle has emerged. In spite of all, says a US research-based company, Gallup, South Africans are generally a happy lot.
That is the keystone of faith and hope for all who believe. Tomorrow will be a brighter day.
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