Today the whole world celebrates Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. When we look at the development of civilization and the history of humanity it is easy to recognise that a handful of people have had the greatest impact upon its direction and Jesus Christ is certainly one of them. It is valuable to ponder why this was so and ask what lessons we could draw from it for a better life and a better world.
The Bible describes Jesus as God’s son sent into the world with a mission and purpose. In that light it is clear that he could have handpicked the parents and family he wanted, their status, their influence, their power and their wealth.
It is good to pause for a moment and ask ourselves, what we would have done if we had the same choices. Many of us would easily choose to be a part of rich, powerful and well connected families. After all we could argue that privileged status and power would only make the mission to the world so much easier.
Yet, Jesus chose to be born to a family with no significant power or influence. Worse still, he decided to be born into an uncertain time, where a census was taking place. When the moment of his birth arrived there was no decent place to be born in and he ended up in a lowly cattle shed.
What does this mean to us as we reflect upon his birth two thousand years later?
We live in a world and a time when most people are convinced that the way to true and lasting happiness is great luxuries and comforts, crass self-indulgence, immense wealth and great power.
They are so convinced about it that they are willing to break rules, cheat, steal and even commit murders to possess them. If we do a careful study of the mental health of our world convinced of such things, this dangerous fallacy would be exposed.
Suicides are at a record high, mental sickness is spiralling upwards; more and more people are living off drugs. Sleeping pills to sleep, sedatives to remain calm, pep pills to go to work and alcohol to party and relax.
Jesus by his birth is pointing out to us another way.
He came to this earth with the purpose of loving, serving and setting other people free. In doing it, he was rejected, attacked and put to death. Yet he says in the Bible “I give you my peace, a peace that the world cannot give you”.
How can a man rejected and persecuted have peace? When Jesus lived out the mission and purpose of his life that also involved the good of others he had the greatest treasure of life, the inner peace.
That is why he is called the Prince of Peace and the joy to the world. The economic or social status of his life did not matter because he was engaged in the mission of his life.
The relevant question today is, have you found out and are you living out the mission and purpose of your life?
For most of us, we do not have to look too far to find this out. When we consciously change the focus of our lives from our own selves to the people who have been brought into our lives the true purpose of life emerges.
In families when we learn to give up and sacrifice for the good of the others we endure pain and discomfort without but great peace within. This principle holds good concerning our workplace, our relatives, our religions and our nation.
Living according to our own religious beliefs and principles if we reach out to care, share and give of our lives to others the spirit of Christmas will reign in our hearts. We are sure to encounter loss, discomfort and pain externally but we are assured of great peace and deep meaning to life within.