Bishop Gibbs’ Christmas Message

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Over the years, I have seen all sorts of internet posts, church marquees and signs in various places that encourage or insist that we need to put “Christ” back in Christmas. I have been one to applaud such a well-meaning attempt to help us remember that Jesus is the central figure of our holiday celebration, not Santa Claus or the constant bombardment of advertisements to buy, buy, buy! Recently, I have noticed a bit of a shift in emphasis. The new message that is appearing and beginning to gain momentum is the need to put “Christ” back in Christian!

The world seems to be in a season of tearing down rather than building-up; a time when having true care, concern and respect for other is an old concept being replaced by electronic modes of social contact. In many ways, permission to treat others as something other than God’s children has been embraced by self-centered people who call themselves Christian, mistakenly asserting that biblical concepts are the foundations that dictate their behavior. The actions of these misguided folks do not reflect the glory of the Prince of Peace and Savior of the world. Perhaps we do need to work on putting “Christ” back in Christian!

Someone has said that “too many people think Christmas is about a mall and not a manger.” We, the followers of Christ – the members of the Jesus Movement – need to keep teaching, preaching and living the truth of our Incarnate God. Like Mary and Joseph, we need to set aside the noise, confusion and judgement of the world that we may hear clearly the voice of the One who comes to save us.

My prayer for each of us this Christmas season is for a renewed appreciation for the gift that is Jesus, the Son of God; and, a rekindled and expectant hope for his coming again in glory.

“May the love of the Creator

The joy of the Spirit

And the peace of the Christ-child

Be with you this Christmas, and evermore. Amen.”

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