Tis The Season
By Ps Alby Yip
The season of Christmas is upon us. “Tis the season” is the phrase used to describe the period from Thanksgiving on 24 November to Christmas. The phrase was likely lifted from the old Christmas carol Deck the Halls, “Deck the halls with boughs of holly… Tis the season to be jolly …” The carol was a call to joy and rejoicing over Christmas. We, humans, receive the Christmas gift of Jesus the Saviour. We ought to rejoice.
But perhaps that was only half the story, and true only on the gift-receiving end of Christmas. It was quite another story on the gift-giving end. God gave His One and Only Son! While the world rejoices over the gift, it was at the Giver’s and the Given’s expense. Christ was given on Christmas that He may offer His life on Good Friday on the Cross. He was born destined for a most painful death, through no fault of His.
Like a coin, Christmas has two sides. The receiving side’s heart rejoices. The giving side’s heart wrenched. We cannot have one side without the other. So how ought we to celebrate and relive the Spirit of Christmas as it was at the first Christmas? We need to “celebrate” the two sides. We need to remember and celebrate the precious gift God has given to us. We need also to remember and commemorate the cost to God and to Christ.
Allow me to make a few suggestions on how we can fully celebrate Christmas in this “Tis the season.”
1. Reflect on your own life. Think about the many sins which are forgiven at the expense of Christ. Give thanks to God for His forgiveness, and if you’ve overcome your sins, give thanks for God’s deliverance. It is not something to be taken for granted.
However, if you are still plagued by your sins, ask God for His forgiveness. Ask God too to illuminate again the true Spirit of Christmas in your heart and mind, and to clothe you with His strength to overcome them. Christmas is God’s offering of His love and forgiveness. Wilful sin is what obstructs people from receiving God’s gift.
2. Think about the people around you. Christmas is both giving and receiving. Since Christians have already received the most precious gift, we should endeavour to lead people towards receiving this same gift too.
Pray about whom you can reach out to. Or if you do not currently have someone to reach out to, perhaps pray about some worthy causes or needy people whom you can bless. Plan to invest your resources sacrificially to reach out to that person. Remember, God gave until it hurts. We too must be prepared to give until it hurts.