Atlantic Caribbean Union

Silent Night - My Holiday Wish!

Silent Night - My Holiday Wish!
Lyrics from a familiar Christmas piece, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” best describe the wish of many Bahamians and residents, especially of Nassau.  In fact, the second line of the first stanza seems elusive: “All is calm, all is bright.” Instead, one hears the firing of gunshots, police car and ambulance sirens accompanied by loud screams and howls: “Oh God not my son,” “Not my child's dad;” “Not again!” Fear is gripping us at our core. Many are simply afraid! The silence is gone out of nights and peace seems intermittent. The killing is too much- even in broad daylight and almost anywhere.
And if that were not enough, the country is still reeling from the tragic deaths of Dr. Myles Munroe, his wife and others. Electricity bill is high, and that which drops is our cell phone calls. Undoubtedly, 2014 has been a rough year, and 2015 is about to greet us with VAT (Value Added Tax). We desire a change! We need change! We need some silent nights, peace and calm but especially the gift of the Lord's favor.
The Gift of the Christ Child
            The gift of the Christ child two thousand years ago was intended to offer peace, joy, hope and more. God, in His omniscience, foresaw our needs and offered mankind a most necessary and all encompassing gift in His only Son. John 3:16 records, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. Years before this declaration, Isaiah, the Old Testament Prophet, penned: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  Capturing this prophetic piece, Luke, another New Testament Writer, added, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10, 11).
Why Peace Appears to Be Lacking?
Repeatedly, the Bible makes it clear that the coming of Jesus was intended to offer peace and joy. What has happened? I suggest that the problem does not lie with the Gift or the Giver but the acceptance and use of the Gift.  It is like receiving a most sizable check but not cashing it. Though valuable and useful, it will serve no purpose unless used. Could it be that the Gift of the Christ Child has not captured our minds and hearts to the extent of controlling and influencing us to live at peace with and loving one another as we should? Could it be that the Gift has not been born in our hearts to the extent that we are led to forgive and move on? Could it be that the Gift of Christ has not been received fully, so we fail to accord the respect that we should to one another on the streets, in the parking lot, and even in the church? We must do more than simply talk about Christ. Instead, we must allow Him to be Lord of our lives fully controlling and running “things.” When Christ is in control, the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy and peace, etc.) will be manifested.
Looking Ahead
            Looking ahead, we must not be daunted by VAT or anything for that matter. It is imperative that we keep linked up with Christ. We can weather situations and effect change with His grace impacting us. We can sing again; we can rejoice and laugh. After all, Christ lives and He inspires a remarkable hope. However, I caution that a life devoid of Him will not change the New Year. It would be attempting to effect changes without resorting to the right resolution, and that is Christ. How could the Apostle Paul, a misguided one and persecutor of the church, experience a turn around? Was it not through Christ? How could Mary, a prostitute, experience a sense of belonging, appreciation and honor? Was it not through Christ who accepted her as a person and showed true love and respect for her? What the world needs is what Christians through Christ are capable of giving. It is love; it is understanding! It is respect and even tolerance for our differences. Emily Elliott explains, “My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, When Thou comest and callest for me.” Essentially, this constitutes my wish for all: that Christ is embraced, and with the Gift mankind will experience what it means to live and to have meaning and lasting value.  It is the Gift that lives on and enables one to have a sense of Christmas daily, monthly and throughout the year.
Have a Christ-centered Christmas and a joyous New Year.