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Christmas Recipe

by Hilton McAllister

It’s Christmas! Literally Christmass, a eucharistic celebration of Christ. Typically, at this time we talk about his birth, but there is no reason why a celebration of Christ should limit itself to a few stories about His birth. It should, instead, address the question, “Who is Jesus Christ, really” Those stories surrounding his birth, however, are helpful. “His Name shall be called Jesus (Yehoshua), for he will save his people from their sins”. The angels announcing His birth sang “Glory to God in the Highest! Peace on earth, goodwill towards men!”

So, who is Jesus, and what does He save us from? Does He really save us from the temporariness, the vanity and the futility of life (caused by sin)? How do I access His salvation? Every gift given or received at Christmas time should remind us of the expensive gift of salvation given freely to us by Jesus Christ.

How do I receive it? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (who He really is) and you will be saved (Acts 16:31). In many parts of the world Christmas time is a time of extra special cleaning of the house. We believe with our hearts, and unless our hearts are clean we cannot hope, love or believe. Have you ever spoken to someone who is simply unable to believe in Jesus Christ, or indeed in anyone or anything? Our hearts are defiled by words that narrate current and handed down stories of betrayal, loss and pain. On the other hand, our hearts are cleansed by words that narrate immediate and readily available help, cures and testimonies of faithfulness and dependability. Pretty much the whole world has lost the ability to believe in eternal life, a kind of God enabled “superman’s” life (Greek: zoe), that some Christians talk about. Is there an answer? Yes, there is!!

This Christmas, read the Bible. Read what it says about who Jesus really is. This will cleanse your heart and give you the ability to believe in Him. When you believe in Him, meaning you commit to identify with and follow Him, you will be saved and you will inherit eternal life. Is this true, does this really happen in your neighbourhood, and to people you know? My testimony, the testimony of your Christian friend – just as in a court of law – these testimonies under oath, so to speak, are how you know that what I’m saying is true.

Read the Bible this Christmas – start with the Gospel of John, then the Gospel of Luke, then Mark, then Matthew, then the Book of Acts – it will help you to understand who Jesus really is, and to believe in Him. Thousands of Christians can testify that there is a spiritual presence that stays with a believer in Jesus, and that can be engaged in conversation, and via this conversation the Bible can be explained to us, our personal mission in life is communicated to us, and we are guided through all the major decisions of life. This interaction between the Spirit and the Word builds a faith that has foundations, with layers built on top of layers of faith that result in a truly amazing life. Faith is described in metaphorical parables as being recognized by its fruit. Fruit bearing faith grows out of a little seed – a message of some sort that is committed to a cleansed heart whose condition can be described by four descriptors: having an ability to understand, to be steadfast, to focus, and to patiently obey. Jesus also uses construction metaphors to make the same point – faith is layered, and understanding is foundational. Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand….” Steadfastness, focus and patient obedience are layers that eventually produce visible fruits, but if our understanding is false, our steadfastness, focus and religious obedience count for nothing. Quoting another parable, pressurised circumstances like Covid outbreaks or crazy European wars, spiralling inflation, or personally tragic circumstances will dismay us and our faith will crumble if it is not built on an understanding of who Jesus really is.

Don’t feel too bad if you don’t fully have this understanding as yet. Jesus’ disciples lived with him for three years and still didn’t realise who He really was. Most of his natural family didn’t realise who he really was until after He rose from the dead and visibly ascended into heaven. He is God in human form, the way to God or the way we acquire a knowledge of God. His nickname is “Yesh”, short for Yehoshua which means Yahweh Our Salvation. That’s who He really is, and when you understand that, you will be invited by the Holy Spirit to encounter Him, resulting in you following Him and instantaneously entering into your eternal salvation, while patiently obeying Him and increasingly displaying the fruit of your faith. Next time you put on a Christmas love story for the family, remember that the Bible is one elaborate dating app, designed to introduce you to Jesus, and by Jesus, to God. Gifts like gold that remind us that Jesus is really the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, frankincense that remind us of Christ’s obedience and myrrh that reminds us that Christ suffered and died in order to purchase our salvation are recommended in the Bible, and should be included somewhere under the Christmas tree. But even if Santa lost them on his way over from the North Pole, we can still find them in a good old Christmas Bible reading – of the Gospels.

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