Bishop's Message

The Christmas Gift

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

Christmas is a holiday with a very important message: one night, as the shepherds watched their sheep on the fields at Bethlehem, an angel came and told them, “Today in the city of David, unto you is born a saviour, that is Christ the Lord!”

In fact, before Jesus was born, the 8th century BC prophet Isaiah had already prophesied that “a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us” (Isa 9:6 NASB). If Christmas does not have this message that a child is born to us, then all the celebratory activities, decorations, Christmas greetings, presents, gatherings and meals, music and songs all become meaningless. Such a holiday then becomes like any other holiday: eating, drinking and partying, just like when someone might throw a birthday party for a friend, and that has nothing to do with the original meaning of Christmas.

A year ago, the annual Orchard Road Christmas light-up was Disney-themed, with fairy tale and Pixar characters. What do these have to do with Christmas?

The angels and heavenly hosts said, “For unto you is born […] a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” This babe, who was born at that time, in a stable in Bethlehem, is Jesus. And that has great consequence for our lives—yours and mine—for the angel said that He is the Saviour of mankind, the Messiah, the Anointed One. He is Lord (kurios).

As He is the Saviour, He saves us from the control that sin has over us, releasing us to freedom. If I accept Him, I can be liberated from the hold of sin to become a free man. Secondly, He is Christ (the Anointed, the Messiah) and He plays three roles: He is prophet, king and priest. He is the prophet that speaks God’s word to the whole world. He is also the powerful King of kings to whom we submit our lives. Even more importantly, He has become our priest, who became the sacrificial lamb that took on our sins. Lastly, He is Lord, He is God, worthy of our worship and praise.

Since He was born for our sake, He is a gift that God has prepared for us. Then let us receive and accept Him with gladness. Thereafter, each Christmas is a reminder to us of the gift that God has prepared for us—the gift that is meant for us to accept with joy, with a heart filled with gratitude!

We should then join in all of the Christmas activities, bringing good cheer to everyone as we gather to share meals together, exchange greetings and gifts, and raise our voices in singing, so that there is a reminder to all that God has prepared this gift for us, one that we should accept without delay. Such a celebration would not only be meaningful, but also bring real warmth to our hearts.

Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference from 2008 to 2016.


Picture by Koltukov/