And so Christmas is upon us. This time tomorrow, most of us will be enjoying a time of giving and sharing as we celebrate the reason for the season with the people that matter the most to us.
In doing so, we will be joining billions of people from around the world who will also be giving thanks for God’s gift to mankind, the birth of his son who came to give life and life more abundantly.
The wonderful thing about Christmas is that even though some people don’t believe in our savior Jesus Christ, they will still be celebrating one way or another.
Indeed, while Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ for Christians, the celebration will not be confined to the homes of Christians in Samoa and throughout the world.
Christmas allows people of every religious and philosophical outlook to take time from their busy and complicated lives to enjoy the company of family and friends.
Speaking of busy lives, 2016 has indeed been a busy year.
We’ve had many highs and lows.
We’ve lost some great people during our journey. Each and everyone of us can think of someone so dear we have had to say goodbye to this year, not to be seen again forever.
Yesterday, this country big farewell to one of its greatest characters, the late Tupua Fred Wetzell. He is among many great men and women who have passed on this year we will sorely miss tomorrow.
But that’s life I suppose. After all the scriptures tell us that death is an appointment. We are all bound to die one way or another. The only question is when and how we will die.
Which means we must make every moment count. And certainly throughout the past year, we’ve laughed, cried and laughed again. We’ve suffered heartaches, headaches and some of us have really been put through the wringer by the trials of life.
At times, it’s been difficult to be cheerful amidst so much doom and gloom.
Almost everywhere you look, there is sadness, destruction and devastation.
Poverty, violence and unemployment continue to be perennial challenges that refuse to go away. They stare at us in the face everyday, as if they’re telling us we haven’t really done anything to solve them.
But let’s not be discouraged.
Hope is not lost.
As a matter of fact, the birth of Jesus Christ is all about hope. He brought hope to a world that was lost and destined for eternal damnation.
Today, let’s remember that Jesus Christ is hope. And he is not merely just the reason for the season; he is the reason for living.
Jesus is hope to the person who is out of work, to the family with no money, the businessman and woman who are struggling to get by and everyone out there experiencing difficulties.
As a nation of Christians, we believe Jesus hears our cries and he answers our prayers. In his own time.
He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, meaning if he promised to help, he will. God is not a man that He should lie and that’s where we should pin all our hopes upon.
So as we prepare to celebrate Christmas tomorrow, spare a thought for the people suffering in Samoa and all over the world for different reasons.
And let’s not forget the families who have lost loved ones throughout the year. This is unlikely to be a happy Christmas for them but we pray for peace and comfort to be upon them during these difficult times.
Let’s also not forget to be thankful for every blessing that we have, knowing that we should treat every day as a gift.
If you’re able to gather your family – and all your loved ones this Christmas - you should be thankful. Whether our Christmas meal is a can of elegi and some boiled bananas, at least we’ve got food. There are people out there who don’t have anything.
Lastly, when it comes to Christmas, we become so preoccupied with presents and gifts. Our minds are filled with the question of what present can I get x, y, z and so forth. It’s not wrong. That’s a very normal part of living.
But if we talk about Jesus being the reason for the season, we must also ask the question of what present can we offer to Jesus to acknowledge his loving kindness, tender mercies and the gift of eternal life he has offered to all mankind.
We will all have different answers.
But knowing a little bit about Jesus, God’s word, the Bible, tells us to offer ourselves as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. It goes on to say that this is our reasonable service. It’s a tough one. I know.
But how can we simplify it? Well it can be translated into many things. But it comes down to each and everyone of us trying our best to be like Jesus Christ on this earth. It means we are ought to love unconditionally, share whatever we have just as God shared his son, sacrifice ourselves for others, forgive, show compassion, bless people wherever and however we can.
That is the true meaning of Christmas. Take care during this last day before Christmas.
God bless Samoa and have a wonderful Christmas everyone!