Nine Errors People Make at Christmas

NINE ERRORS PEOPLE MAKE AT CHRISTMAS

By Josh Chigorimbo, 2017

And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

The wise men in our text responded to the first “Christmas” wisely indeed. So should we. However, nowadays believers and sinners alike make terrible mistakes regarding this holy event. In this article we consider nine errors we all run the risk of committing during the festive season of every year.

1. CRAVING PRESENTS RATHER THAN CHRIST’S PRESENCE: Our preoccupation with exchanging material gifts robs us of the opportunity to experience the life-changing presence of God through authentic worship. Note that penitents of the first Christmas came to GIVE not to receive.

2. HALLOWING FAIRIES RATHER THAN THE FATHER: It is amazing how today’s believers prefer to dwell on superstitions and fables surrounding the Christ-event than on the truth. Yet Jesus teaches that God is on the hunt for people who know how to worship the Father in Spirit and Truth.

3. READING HOROSCOPE RATHER THAN SCRIPTURE: Many saints and sinners alike have not learned the joy that comes from studying the Word of God. Seeking answers in horoscopes and other dodgy sources, denies many the sure hope that only God can give. In this season and beyond, let us refuse to be led astray by anything cultic. God’s plans for you are revealed in His Word and by His Spirit. Trust Him.

4. INVITING FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO FUN THAN TO FAITH: To many revellers in our hedonistic society, Christmas is all about fun, food, and games. But the real reason for the season tends to be relegated to the background. Let us remember that it’s all about faith not fun. There is no better time than now to encourage our friends and family to seek the Lord while He may be found.

5. SPENDING SEED RECKLESSLY THAN SOWING WISELY: In this consumerism driven climate, we all run the risk of overspending. Let’s beware, dear friends. Remember that we must not consume more than we create. Our outgo must not outstrip our income. When that happens, we begin to slide into the grip of the servitude of debt. Rather we must save, invest, sow and spend prudently.

6. TREATING THE POOR WITH CONTEMPT RATHER THAN WITH COMPASSION: It’s easy for those of us who are well to do to think the less privileged are that way because of laziness or stupidity. We can easily become callous to the plight of the needy. In this season, as we enjoy the blessings we have received, let us spare a thought for the disadvantaged.

7. MIXING PAGANISM WITH CHRISTIANITY: Sadly, Christmas is one of those Christian events that are riddled with a lot of pagan symbols and rituals. As a result, the true meaning of the Incarnation is obscured and buried under an avalanche of myths and legends. So earnest seekers have a tough time deciphering the true message. And earnest believers have a tough time sanitising this sacred season. But try we must!

8. AVOIDING THE CENTRALITY OF CHRIST: Somehow Santa Claus, turkeys and Christmas trees hog the whole limelight during this holy season while the one whose “birthday” we celebrate (Jesus) hardly gets a mention. Some even substitute the Christ of Christmas with an X—unknowingly replacing the heart of the season with a symbol denoting an unknown quantity.

9. SUBSTITUTING RITUALS FOR RELATIONSHIP: It is very easy for church folks to settle for rituals instead of enjoying a real relationship with the King of Kings. It’s quite easy for Christians to become nominal believers, whose faith is purely traditional and void of real meaning, joy and impact. That’s one error we all must avoid this Christmas. Let get to really know and worship Christ the Lord.

©Josh Chigorimbo 2017

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HOW CHRISTMAS ANTICIPATES THE SECOND COMING

HOW CHRISTMAS ANTICIPATES THE SECOND COMING
By Josh Chigorimbo, December 2017

 

And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:66
When the relatives and neighbours of Zechariah and Elizabeth witnessed the extraordinary happenings around the birth of John the Baptist, they could not help but wonder what sort of child he would be. Why did such a question arise? It did because of the unique circumstances surrounding his entrance into this world. The author leaves readers in no doubt about the uncommon significance of the related sons (John and Jesus) in the Christmas story.
Firstly, this child’s birth was remarkable because it was accompanied by ANGELIC VISITATION. Now, if you know anything about angels you will be even more impressed because it was no ordinary angel who visited this priestly couple. For it was none other than the archangel Gabriel who visited the old priest Zachariah and informed him that he and his wife would have a son in their old age. It is common enough everyday and everywhere for young and older women to become pregnant within and without wedlock. But there was nothing common about Elizabeth’s conception. This brings us to the second remarkable fact about John’s conception.
Secondly, this child was conceived to AGEING PARENTS. Both husband and wife were advanced in years. The couple probably no longer had any hope or expectation of a child as they continued to serve the Lord faithfully. But God had other plans for them. Elizabeth’s womb had been reserved all these years for the Messiah’s forerunner. Her disappointment was actually the platform God would use for His glory through the special mission God had in store for the aged couple. The revival of this old lady’s fertility was no small testimony throughout the hill country of Judea (Luke 1:65)! Much like the birth of a royal child nowadays, John’s arrival on the planet was extremely newsworthy.
Thirdly, the child was conceived by a CERTIFIED BARREN woman. No wonder the archangel explained to Mary, “With God all things are possible” (Luke 1:37).   Scripture here goes to great lengths to show us that there was nothing commonplace about John’s destiny. This was a divine appointment through and through. The text suggests that Elizabeth’s barrenness had been public knowledge and the cause of much ridicule to her and her husband. That is why her testimony could not be hidden either. It is ironic that she who had suffered such public humiliation would now be the object of much envy and celebration.
Dear friend, God can do the same for you as well. He can also turn your sorrow into joy. God can also transmute your mourning into dancing. He specialises in exalting the humble, empowering the weak and saving the lost.
Fourthly, the atmosphere surrounding John’s birth was MIRACULOUS. Zechariah is filled with the Spirit, so are Elizabeth, Mary and even the unborn child John in meeting Jesus’ mother! Prophetic utterances erupt frequently. The whole narrative is spiritually charged. It is pregnant with promise, expectation and wonders.  It is simply supernatural.
Fifthly, the Lord’s PRESENCE was evident upon the child right from the onset. Many children start off wayward and then reform somewhere along the line. Some go through very painful growth pains–painful for the child, parents and community. Not so, with John! I pray that all our children will not waste valuable time going astray first before they see the light.  Let us believe and pray together for all our sons and daughters. Let them know and prepare for their life purpose and fulfil their destinies untainted.
Friends, let it be known that Jesus’ First Coming was no ordinary event. His forerunner was no ordinary child. Jesus is no ordinary man. His Second Coming will be no ordinary event either–as it will also feature equally spectacular signs. The happenings of the Incarnation anticipate the Second Coming. Let us remember that this Christmas.
© Josh Chigorimbo 2017

CELEBRATING GOD

Psalm 37:4 carries a DUAL COMMAND: What To Do And Where. First, the ACTION: we must learn to DELIGHT (rejoice). The Scripture term used here carries the sense of finding personal thrill, enjoyment and pleasure in something. The Church has unwittingly overemphasized the spiritual and intellectual dimensions of our faith at the expense of our emotional faculties. For too long we’ve been content with a dispassionate spirituality. God is sick and tired of worship devoid of passion, heart and emotion. He is fed up of an attitude of mere accommodation and tolerance by His own people. Instead He desires to be truly loved and celebrated by those called by His name. It’s time we became truly excited about our relationship with Jesus. It’s time we became enthusiastic over His presence, revelation and ministry! His Word must thrill our lives. His wisdom must fascinate us. His will must enthuse us. No more casual responses to God! No more diverting His glory to earthly idols!