Celebrating Christmas in a Secular Society

Many of us find ourselves with a sense of loss this Christmas, trying to cope with the downward spiral of a secular society.  We ask ourselves, “how do we live for Jesus in such a way that celebrates the heart of Christmas?”

Across the country, The Wesley Methodist Church is sharing our Vision Statement –  “We celebrate every time a disciple makes a disciple, and a church multiplies itself, until there is the transforming presence of Jesus Christ in every community throughout Australia.”

What does “until there is the transforming presence of Jesus Christ in every community throughout Australia” mean?
I want to continue to explore this in the months ahead, for it ought to be the natural by-product of spreading scripture Holiness. 

In our desire to see the transforming presence of Christ in our own lives and in our communities, we will find ourselves confronted by a resistance to spiritual truth.  Sometimes that resistance is not the reaction to the spiritual truth, per say, but a reaction to the way we share that spiritual truth.

However we need to understand 1 Cor 2:12-16  NIV
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Clearly there is no place for arrogance within the life of a Christian, for this wisdom is God given. I would ask that each of us have a close look at how we are responding to the world in which we live.

 Dear God, open our eyes to any hint of arrogance within us that tarnishes our attitudes and actions towards a world that does not know Jesus.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. * (John 3:17 NIV).

 Our message is Jesus.  Initially someone might think this is a simple statement and in some ways it would be.  But it involves a lifelong commitment to follow Jesus, to know Jesus, to discover Jesus throughout the pages of the gospels and throughout the whole Bible.

If we are earnest in our pursuit of holiness then the life and teachings of Jesus will confront every part of us.  We Christians have a tendency, or should I say a history, of diluting the message of Jesus, within our culture, our personality, our society, our desires, and our biases.  We can see this with some that are accepting the homosexual act as acceptable to God.

However, before we jump on this issue let us consider also with the same conviction our own acceptance of behaviours that are not pleasing to God. Where is the fruit of our justice, mercy and faithfulness?  If we wonder why the world has not taken us seriously?  At times it may come down to hypocrisy.  Therefore, how is the life and teaching of Jesus confronting us?

 If we are not being confronted by Jesus’ life and teachings then I wonder if we are just playing around in the shallows of His truth.

My personal prayer for this coming year is for each of us to take a fresh and closer look at the life and teachings of Jesus. The first place that I want to see the transforming presence of Jesus Christ is in my own life.

 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. * (Eph 1:17 NIV)

Would you join me in this prayer for Christmas and for the coming year?
 Heavenly Father open my eyes to see Jesus more clearly in ways that enable me to experience the transforming presence of Jesus Christ in my life. 

Rev. Rex E Rigby
National Superintendent