“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” The words of this well-known Christmas song point us to consider the amazing spirit of giving that prevails over this festive season.
It was inspiring to hear that the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, recently announced that he would give 99 per cent of his personal shares to fund charitable causes. The birth of his first child was his motivation, in an attempt to solve the world problems, advance human potential and promote equality.
Such generosity has a familiar ring to it. The very first Christmas was marked by the purposeful generosity of a loving Father and the birth of a baby – a loving God who gave His only son for three significant reasons: to solve the world’s greatest problem (sin); to advance human potential (by giving abundant life); and to promote equality (no boundaries of race or gender).
How amazing that the birth of one baby can have such a far-reaching impact on the lives of so many. Take the shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem who were tending their sheep that first Christmas night. Their encounter with an angel proved to be a life-changing, pivotal moment in their lives that led them to Jesus.
“But the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” (Luke 2:10 NLT)
Interestingly the first words the angel spoke addressed their fears: “Don’t be afraid.” We are living in days when people are feeling insecure and fearful about the future. The birth of the one known as the Prince of Peace can bring faith and hope where there is great fear.
The angel went on to speak about ‘good news that will bring you great joy’. That first Christmas was set in the midst of turbulent times, not unlike the present day when we are bombarded by breaking news that is tragic, alarming or shocking. The birth of Jesus wasn’t about starting a new religion but the good news is that through Him, we can have a relationship with a loving God.
The final words of the angel referred to “all people”. The Christmas message is not exclusive, but inclusive. Jesus has broken down every wall and there are no barriers – it is a message for everyone.
Our prayer for you this Christmas is that you will encounter and receive the wonderful, life-changing gift that God has given each and every one of us – His son, Jesus.
– Wayne Alcorn (ACC National President)