On behalf of me and my family, and the ECWA Executive, I bring you warm greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Christmas season is the period of the year when Christians (believers in Christ Jesus) all over the world celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. The miracle of Christmas is that God chose to come in human form (Jesus Christ). The miracle of His human birth speaks volume about God’s indefatigable love and exemplary life towards all mankind.
Jesus was born in an earthy, raw, smelly stable, not in a temple or royal palace. Born in such a place is God’s way of showing that Jesus’ birth epitomizes his love and exemplary humility to all mankind. No matter what wrong and iniquity we have done or will ever do, God’s saving grace is ever all sufficient for our redemption, restoration, and reconciliation through the birth, death and resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ. It is His birth we are celebrating at Christmas season.
The Christmas message is often lost in the secular world of consumerism, commercialism and materialism. The real meaning of Christmas is simple, yet profound. The Gospel story in Luke tells us about the Christmas message. First, the Christmas message is a message of ‘fear not.’ This message came to Mary when she was told, ‘Fear not, for you have found favor with God’ (Luke 1:30). It was the same message to Joseph in a dream in Matthew 1:20, ‘Fear not to take Mary as thy wife.’ Because the savior and redeemer is here.
Secondly, the message of Christmas is a message of great joy to all humanity. That night in Bethlehem when Jesus was born, the angel announced the good news of great joy to all mankind (Luke 2:10). It was a message of the Savior’s birth — a Savior for all mankind, one through whom all human race, no matter the race; tribe, gender, moral or religious affiliation, would be saved and have a hope that transcends this earth. In Christ, your salvation from eternal condemnation to eternal life is guaranteed. If only you would accept His free gift of love.
Thirdly, the message of Christmas is a message of peace and good will. After the shepherds saw the baby lying in a manager, they ‘made known abroad the saying which was told to them concerning this child.’ Luke 2:17.
The year 2020 has been eventful, more than any time before in the history of this country Nigeria and the world at large, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the spate of persecutions, kidnapping, killings, massacre and wanton destructions of properties of citizens and non-citizens alike, especially in the Middle Belt and Northern parts of our country by the enemies of the cross, has been unprecedented. However, we are hopeful of a better Nigeria where relative peace and equality shall prevail. And as the great hymn writer puts it, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
ECWA theme for 2021 beautifully and summarily states it all “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Christ in us is truly the hope of our glory.
A blessed Christmas to all in Jesus name!
Author: Rev. Stephen Baba Panya
Rev. Stephen Panya Baba is the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) President. Before his election, he was the Evangelical Missionary Society (EMS) Cross Boarder Mission President, as well as ECWA Television Coordinator.