Today is a day when many families come together. Some of them would take this day, December 25, to remember the birth of Jesus Christ (which in reality was on October 17) but which they celebrate on the birthday of the goddess of light. Yesterday night several people came together to celebrate Christmas Eve. It was one moment of pleasure, to repeat with other guests today on Christmas Day.
Of abiding importance, is that when we do participate in this feast we should keep our focus on the right person.
‘Abide’ is a word not used regularly, but it was a special word of Jesus (see John 12:46; 15:4,10). His youngest disciple, the apostle John, particularly embraced this word; it implies a permanent loyalty.
Today lots of people remember the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, but we dare to ask them also to remember how John stood by the stake with the mother of Jesus (John 19:26,27) and then took care of Mary (Maria/Myriam). John in his letters employs the word abide and we note the sense of permanency this word conveys. You do not just come for a visit and stay awhile but you abide in some situations permanently. As a result, you also have ‘fellowship’ (another special word) permanently.
John makes the point,
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6).
“that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (verse 3).
Fellowship is a relationship among those who are fellows together in the same ship going on a lifelong voyage, therefore it is an abiding relationship, with Christ as the Captain.
All the gatherings on Christmas Eve and on Christmas day are short-time activities, but mostly they are celebrations with people to whom we want to have a bond or a life-long connection.
We do hope that those Christians who celebrate Christmas, shall try to have such a bond also with their lord Jesus.
Looking at the world today, we notice not so many people abide in the lord. Not many do know Christ or do know Jehovah. By those who say they know and love Christ, many have taken him as their god, instead of accepting that Jesus is the son of God. A lot of them also do not keep to the words of Jesus and his God and as such kneel down in front of graven images and pray to a lot of saints in the hope those saints would do something for them.
We have to keep God His Word – abiding in God’s Word – so that we shall be able to feel in us the changing of our personality and that truly the love of God is perfected. Whoever says he abides in Jesus ought to walk in the same way in which he walked, (1 John 2:5,6), but first of all has to allow Christ to enter in his life. When we look around us we see many who claim to be Christians, but their lifestyle does not reflect their claim. Often this is no wonder because they do not really know Christ. Those who call themselves Christian should know Christ and should have a good relationship with that Nazarene who was the chosen one from God. Our aim should be to abide in Christ, allowing him to live in our deepest heart and coming to live in him, make our home in him, knowing that the Body of Christ is the ecclesia (our church). In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, we can’t bear fruit unless we are joined with Christ and all those who take part of that Body of Christ.
We sincerely hope that you, today, shall take some time to think about that important vine of which we have to be the branches. When you’re joined with Jesus and allow him to abide in you, having an intimate relationship with him, the relation intimate and organic, you shall notice that the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
“4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing.” (Joh 15:4-5 ASV)
John’s world, like our world, was falling apart:
“the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (verse 17).
“little children abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”
Let us practice at practising righteousness every day and abide in Christ Jesus.
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