From everyone at New Beginnings we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. We are thankful for each and every one who contributed to the life and work of New Beginnings in the past year whether big or small, and we pray you continue to support us in the years to come.
Christmas is one of the most joyous and family centred times of the year for all of us. However, with life in Uganda often being very different we recently asked two of the older children in the village a few questions about Christmas and what it means to them.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Gloria – Christmas means a lot to me and it reminds me of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is the day we received our saviour.
Rose – it is the day when Jesus Christ was born.
What happens in the village on Christmas day?
Gloria- We receive Christmas cards and gifts from our sponsors and friends.
Rose- We pray and enjoy food with our friends.
What are you thankful for this Christmas?
Gloria – I am very thankful because God has kept me well until this day.
Rose – my friends and my happiness.
Gloria (right) and Rose (left) were both members of the NB choir tour.
Just as Gloria says Christmas reminds us of the birth of Jesus Christ. However, through time we become numb to this joyous reality. If we focus solely on Christ’s birth, we miss the purpose for which he came. Jesus doesn’t want our adoration, he yearns for our salvation. Without the whole story of Christmas, we miss out on the whole joy. Christmas is the love story of a God who would humble himself and give up his majesty for a manger. But it didn’t end there. It’s the victorious story of a God who rose again and destroyed sin and death. Use this Christmas for exactly the reason why Jesus was sent, to enable God’s people to get closer to Him. God sent Jesus to bridge the unfathomable gap our sin has created so that each of us can spend eternal life with him.
This Christmas we encourage you to give one of the sinful burdens you are trying to manage on your own to God as a gift. David said in 2 Samuel 24, that he would not offer a sacrifice to God that cost him nothing. Therefore, the gift we give to God this Christmas will not be easy to part with or admit. Perhaps the gift we give God could be to forgive someone you have needed to forgive for a long time but never had the strength too. Lewis B. Smedes wrote in his book, Forgive and Forget, “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumour out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.” This gift we have gave to God could end up being the only gift we really needed this Christmas.
The gift you give to God may be to commit to spending more time with Him each day. These promises are often made with great intention but usually fall short. Let us make this Christmas the year when we faithfully reignite our relationship with God and his word. Finally, there may be something which God has asked you to give up for a while now. Some negative temptation that has a grip on your life only you and God know about. This Christmas God would love nothing more than for you to trust Him enough to give to Him that sin which has a hold on your life.
When you don’t have it in you
Maybe this year you were dreading Christmas coming around as you just don’t feel you have it in you to celebrate. For some of us this year may have been overshadowed by sadness, loneliness or a heaviness that refuses to budge. Therefore, this year you feel that the joy has been sucked out of you.
Regardless we all will go through the motions at this time of year. Getting the tree up, sending cards and giving presents but the real joy of the season? That may have been stolen by the year that’s gone by. Therefore, when we sit back and really think about the Christmas season what is it that we can be truly thankful for?
It is vitally important to recognise the things both large and small that God does for us on a continuous basis. If we take note of each and every blessing, we will begin to realise just how much we have to be thankful for. If we take a few moments to reflect on the months that have passed since last Christmas I am sure there will be occasions where we can see God’s hand guiding us through certain situations.
If you are finding it hard to be thankful this Christmas, scripture reminds us that Jesus did not come down from heaven for those who have it all together or those who are full of joy for him. He came for those who are broken, burdened and disappointed. He came for those of us that sometimes feel forgotten by the world around us. Jesus came so he could restore joy to our lives. He came to flood our hearts with peace even when it seems most impossible.
In the coming months our circumstances may not change or struggles from the past might not mend. But this Christmas know that Jesus came for you. As broken and far away as you feel from Christ’s forgiveness, His love is infinitely greater. Through this love, God is able to restore our joy, bring peace and truly bless your Christmas with the best gift of all. His presence and peace.
At New beginnings we would encourage you to take a few minutes in prayer during your Christmas day. Pray for the children in the village. Pray that in the years to come they will continue to be thankful for the Christmas story and that they will grow in faith with Jesus just like Gloria and Rose.
Further Prayer Points
- Safety of children and staff
- Wilson recently had pneumonia so please pray that he will continue to get better
- The children living with HIV and Aids to continue to grow and be nurtured
- Health of all children, especially those recovering from sickness
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New Beginnings Christmas Message