The message of Christmas
|Written by Lead Pastor Zak
Christmas is such a special time of the year, a season where miracles and the uncommon occur. There is a hope in the atmosphere, warmth in people's hearts and a willingness to help others. There is a message in this incredible season that transcends all faiths and beliefs. Christmas has been a time in my life where tremendous things have occurred to me personally and to those around me. Allow me to share a few such occurrences.
My journey began as a Muslim Imam (priest) when the story of Christmas touched my heart, made a huge impact on my life and brought me to my present vocation -- the Pastor of Jubilee Celebration Centre in Orillia, Owen Sound and NOW in Alliston. My Christmas story started when I was two years old in West Africa and I became very sick to the point of death. With no hope for my survival, my parents had done all they could, even the doctors pronounced a death sentence over my life and gave me some months to live. At that time, a lady from Germany a Christian missionary in our country took me in and cared for me for six months. Every single day she spent time praying for me until my condition improved and my health returned to me. Her faith and prayers in God gave me life, something I could not do for myself at the time.
As we enter a new year, I want to encourage and challenge you to understand the message of Christmas and do for others what they cannot do for themselves. Let the Christmas story be a reality in your life and live on through you, give others a gift they cannot give to themselves.
Years have come and gone but I remember that on another Christmas season after I had I finished Bible College I went to Scotland to marry my beautiful wife. I left all my belongings with a trusted friend, however, upon returning back to Canada, we discovered that almost everything I owned had been stolen or lost and I had to start all over again. Again, God sent a very special person to help me out of my situation. Pastor Jerry of Gateway Harvest Fellowship in Barrie invited me to come and speak at his church. After the weekend he asked me to come on staff, got us a place to stay, helped furnish it, and also connected me with incredible friends and family. Pastor Jerry did for us what we were powerless to do for ourselves -- he helped restore our faith and hope.
The meaning of Christmas is also illustrated in the Bible through a story that is seldom if ever connected with this time of the year --The Good Samaritan. The plot revolves around a man who takes a business trip from Jerusalem to Jericho. In those days the roadways were filled with bandits and the unsuspecting man became a victim to thieves who robbed him, beat him and left him for dead. Shortly after the brutal crime two people who should and could have helped him walked by (one was a priest and the other was a very religious person) -- neither one offered any assistance but plenty of excuses. When all hope seemed lost, a Samaritan man came by and took action. This stranger and outcast who had every reason to ignore the dying man was moved with compassion and did something for the man that he could not do for himself. The Good Samaritan treated the man's wounds as best he could, ensured that he got proper medical treatment, paid all the bills and promised to come back to make sure the man had recovered. The Good Samaritan showed a perfect stranger the love of God and provided him with what he could not do for himself -- this is the message of Christmas.
On another occasion during the Christmas season I found myself in a position where I could help others and do for them what they could not do for themselves. A family was struggling with their finances, although they seemed wealthy on the surface, reality was that they were drowning in a sea of debt. Through counseling we unearthed the root cause of the problem, which was not financial in nature at all. Due to a death and a nasty divorce in the family, the couple had become strangely attached to material wealth and believed that goods would give them the security they were looking for. The reality was that the emotional grief and trauma of both events had not been dealt with properly. I assisted them in addressing the true issue, which resulted in a resolution of their financial problems. They de-cluttered their hearts and their home. Today they are well on their way to financial prosperity, clearing their debts and following a budget that is realistic. They were shown something they could not see for themselves -- this is the meaning of Christmas.
Christmas is over and the new year has begun, people are facing new challenges
such as weight loss, financial problems, credit card payments and changes they
desire to make in their lives. I encourage you to help people achieve their
goals and be a positive change agent. Perhaps you need the change yourself. Let
me encourage you to seek help from a trusted family member, friend, pastor
(minister) or professional counselor. Find a church that will pray for you,
encourage you and help you deal with your emotional, spiritual, mental, and
physical issues. Christmas is over 350 days away, but I hope the message of its
beauty will live in you every day of the year. Let it become the story of your
life, give someone hope, do something kind, help someone in need. Jesus Christ
is an incredible example and the centre of the Christmas story. He came to give
mankind something they could not provide for themselves -- a hope and a future.
Written by Lead Pastor Zak
Jubilee Celebration Centre - Orillia, Owen Sound & NOW in Alliston