Beware of Distractions

The real Joy of Christmas is in the Person of Jesus Christ and not in those externals.

Preparations are underway everywhere for Christmas celebrations. The commercial world is well ahead of us in their preparations to lure all of us in the name of Christmas (not Christ). Every year, business people come up with new ideas, designs and products. They make every effort to take us away from Christ and draw us to the marketplace.

A few years ago, I saw a night bar welcome its customers with a sticker outside the bar: ‘Welcome, Merry Christmas’. “Walk steady with J****y W***ker” was another advertisement that caught my attention during the festive season. In fact, the commercial world and the media try to dictate to us how to celebrate The Season.

A careful observation of all the commercial advertisements will certainly caution us of the subtlety of their intentions. There is no place for Christ in all these celebrations. They focus on externals. Unbiblical traditions and symbols try to occupy the central place. The truth about Christmas is being suppressed. Myths are projected as Truths.

They try to appeal to our appetites. ‘Eating, Drinking and Being Merry’ appears to be the philosophy of Christmas. More attention is given to the day, events and enacting the events around Christmas. Worship is substituted by mere parties. Real reverence to God seems to be missing. Our celebrations centre around ourselves and not around Christ. The simplicity of Christmas is slowly vanishing. It is only a seasonal joy.

Friends, let us not be distracted from Christ during this Christmas. The real Joy of Christmas is in the Person of Jesus Christ and not in those externals. We need to internalise the Christmas truth. Speaking about the incarnation of Christ in Philippians 2:5, Paul exhorts us: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”. Let us not look for Hope and Joy on the outside. True Hope and Joy spring from the inner assurance rooted in Christ. He is the source of all Hope and Joy. Jesus is Supreme!

Christ is the centre of God’s plan. He should be the centre of our celebrations too. When we abide in Him and fit into His plan, we will certainly rejoice in this Glorious Hope. It is possible only when we maintain a constant and meaningful relationship in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christmas is all about celebrating that blessed relationship in Him. In Christ, our Destiny is clear, our Hope is glorious and our Joy is eternal. Christ in us is the Hope Of Glory (Col 1:27). If we have this assurance, we will still rejoice in Christ on 26 Dec.

The wonder of Christmas is Jesus alone. Let us proclaim that Wonder to the world with the Joy of the Lord.

Wishing you all a meaningful time of celebrations.

The Rev R. Prabhu was elected President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) in 2012 for the quadrennium. He is also Pastor-in-Charge of Ang Mo Kio Tamil and Seletar Tamil Methodist Churches.