Christmas Message: Reality of our religion
by The Methodist Church
This year, Christmas is celebrated against the backdrop of a world and society with several complex and challenging issues. There are many countries that are torn apart by hostilities, conflicts, strife and war. There is a continual loss of life as a result of hostilities and conflicts. Some of these areas are located in and around where Jesus lived and exercised His ministry.
In addition, the illicit drug trade in Latin America and the Caribbean, trade conflicts in the region, and the widening gap between the rich and the poor as the prosperity the rich enjoys comes at the expense of the destitution and suffering of the poor, are nothing short of war.
The family is under attack and the institution of marriage is called into question as Caribbean and other countries are called upon to adjust their laws to facilitate same-sex marriages and other questionable lifestyles.
In several countries children are at risk as a result of crime and violence, disease and poverty, neglect and lack
of guidance and abuse of one kind or another, and in particular domestic violence not only against children but more so against women.
These are all experiences that spell death rather than life – physical death, the death of conscience and the death of a future.
It is a world where in many ways people are confused, and feelings of hopelessness and despair abound. As a result, some persons are looking forward to Christ’s return to clean up the mess that we have created.
There are others who anticipate the reign of God among us when peace and justice and righteousness will prevail.
The world in which Jesus was born over 2 000 years ago was similar in many respects to our world today; it too had its fair share of hostilities, strife, conflict, tension and war. There was also a sense of anticipation that something would give way and something momentous would happen.
In a situation and a world that offered death to so many, God descended in human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ with an offer, not of death, but of life. In Him is life. He is the embodiment of life. He comes with an offer of life to all persons. He is the way, the truth and the life.
On this Christmas Day, God has come to us in Christ to offer to you and me life in all its fullness.
It is a new quality of life in which we are at peace with God, ourselves and others. It is a peace that results in justice as we work for a more just and humane society and world.
It is my prayer that, whatever may be your situation on this Christmas Day, your experience will be one of life as you open your heart to the one who has come to us. Emmanuel, God with us, is an offer of life and it is life in all its fullness.
I wish you, your relatives and loved ones a peaceful, holy, blessed celebration as you experience the life that Christ that brings and offers, and every good wish for the New Year.
Rev Dr Cuthbert A. Edwards is president and general superintendent of the Methodist Church.