REV CANON DR JOHN SENYONYI
There is not a single person who is not pressed with the fundamental questions of life. Does God exist? And if He does, is He concerned with the affairs that trouble me? Does He care?
These questions press harder in times of extreme hardships. Then we are forced to ask the deeper questions of life. We want to find meaning, to make sense of our existence or even more, to ascertain our destiny.
This age has turned these fundamental questions into idle matters. We use pleasure to divert our attention and to silence that nagging quizzical voice.
But we cannot mute it. The voice asks incessantly: What is the meaning of my life? Where is God when I need Him? Why do my prayers go unanswered?
This self-deception is more pronounced in the Christmas season. We are supposed to be merry and to exchange “Merry Christmases,” however unfelt they are. The business-minded have invented clowns like ‘Father Christmas’ and ‘Santa Claus’ to add to the merriment of Christmas.
On a television programme in the US, I once saw ordinary people answer the question about the meaning of Christmas. They talked about family time and holiday time. None knew it to be the birth of Jesus Christ, the day when God bowed heaven to come amidst us!
This one event is supremely critical to the meaning of life, for it is when God made His irrevocable statement in answer to these questions. Eternity was mysteriously enveloped in time on the first Christmas Day!
On Christmas Day, God took His stand with humanity. He who is the Author of all creation, visible and invisible, became the world’s most needed Visitor. In the incarnation, God speaks with finality and by it He bares His love for the world. What does He say?
That Jesus is the God- Man in whom God fleshed Himself at Christmas. “The Word became flesh … and we have seen His glory.” He was full of grace and truth. Jesus slept, wept tears and hurt like we do. He is God Emmanuel for He shares our nature, our circumstances and all our limitations.
Therefore Christmas is a celebration of the Divine Visitor. We now know our God fully comprehends our life! He shared our weaknesses and our troubles.
But the God of grace and truth does not entertain an imitation life. This man Jesus is the end to our falsehoods. We can no longer live in shadows or masks and pretention. When we come to Jesus on Christmas Day we must come as we are. He will not leave us in our pitiable condition for He gives meaning to life.
Secondly, John reveals the supremacy and preeminence of Jesus Christ. John the Baptist gladly vacates the stage for his younger cousin! During Christmas we must not lose His imposing status. We often lose it in our merry-making, the drinking and eating, dressing and visiting. So we replace meaning with trivia.
“In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus predated His birth; He is the Almighty God.
His mission is also so much higher than John’s mission. John’s mission was to reveal the Son of God. Jesus’ came to take away the sin of the world. Sin is the primary impediment to finding meaning in life. The Jesus of Christmas is the only panacea for our sin; nothing else can or will do. John said this to Jews steeped in their repetitive sacrificial system, sacrifices that did not suffice to take away sin.
Furthermore, while John baptized with water, Jesus “baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
To be baptized is to be ‘fully wet’ with the Holy Spirit, bathed in the life of God. If you have Jesus you are clothed with a God-life, imbued with power to live a new life. That corresponds to the new birth in Jesus. It is the