Friday, December 24, 2010

HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A FRUITFUL NEW YEAR

by Baru Bian

I grew up as a teenager in Long Kerebangan, Long Semadoh, a half day's walk from Ba’ Kelalan. Christmas has always been filled with great excitements and joy to us children. We looked forward to the choir competition, the Bible memory verse recital touching on the birth of our Lord Jesus, and the meeting of young people from the neighbouring villages. This is because traditionally then, Christmas was celebrated annually by three or more churches coming together at one Church or village. In our case we had three villages, Long Beluyu, Long Tanid and my village, Long Kerebangan. Christmas was also “filled with worship” because there was at least four to five worship services carried out from the evening of the 24th until the morning of 26th December.

The end of the year was not only an occasion of ‘merry making’ but it was also a time for the village youth ‘muda mudi’ to learn new songs taught by a few of us who were back for our year-end holidays. I remember then, that the ‘muda mudi’ always look forward to the presentations from the Long Kerebanganians, because we were reputed to be the ‘progressive group’ always with many new gospel and Christmas songs. Being the first few to leave home for secondary education in Lawas and Limbang Secondary Schools, my siblings, cousins and I naturally took the leadership roles in the village. Few years back, I came across a song book compiled by the Youth Group of my village incorporating these songs; invoking within me that nostalgic feeling of good old times. Perhaps, a small legacy of short.

Today as I reminisce those old good times, I recall 1978 Christmas day at Long Kerebangan when for the first time a Christmas caroling was carried out by our ‘muda mudi’ group. We warned the villagers that there would be an extraordinary program in the night but one should not be alarmed. We came out to sing in the middle of the night at different locations in the village compound, just like the angelic hosts at the first Christmas Eve declaring the Good News to all that Jesus the Saviour was born. The next morning we were told that many thought it was the ‘rapture’ (Second Coming of our Lord Jesus) taking place, as they thought they were hearing choir of angels singing! That was my first and the last Christmas caroling in the night in our village church.

For many years now this ‘traditional’ Christmas celebration had been abandoned by our churches for a more ‘urban’ or ‘modern’ celebration; fireworks, house ‘ngabang,’ family dinner but limited church services or worship. Traditional or modern, I pray that we may know the real reason why there is such a big celebration of Christmas Day. Luke described the first declaration of the birth of Jesus as follows:

“And there were shepherds, living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace with men on whom his favour rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2: 8-15.

Jesus’ birth should bring great joy to all the people because He is referred to as a Saviour. He saves mankind from the power of sins and death. He gives hope to anyone who is enslaved by the power of sins and gives eternal life to those who take Him as Lord and Saviour. We have been advocating for a political, social and economic transformation in the State, and Country, but at this Christmas, I pray for a greater transformation above all; the spiritual transformation which comes from within our hearts. It comes through allowing Jesus Christ to be born in our hearts today, as He did more than two thousand years ago.

For all our Christian readers, friends and supporters, may I pray for a Blessed Christmas with your loved ones and fruitful years ahead.


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7 comments:

Banyoi Embang said...

BB, I find no word of christmas in KJV Bible. Can you find one?. But I found one where Jesus Christ told His disciples on how to remember Him : 1 Corin 11 : 23-25.

Today the christmas is made to be a licence for those "christians" to do the worldly things.

FirstFruits said...

Hi BB

Wishing you and your family Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

May the Lord make His face shine on you and give you guidance and
wisdom to bring about change in our quest for political transformation
in Sarawak.

May God bless you and yours richly.

Warmly in Christ
Cheng BwwvKuav

FirstFruits said...

Hi Banyoi Embang

I don't know where you are coming from but I agree with what you said and I think you
must be a fundamentalist and Bible-based Christian.

You are right about not finding the word, Christmas in the Bible but true followers
of Jesus Christ are commanded to obey the command in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 that
you quoted where Jesus told his disciples to remember his death and not his birth:-
"“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new
covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till
He comes.

Just to set the record straight and not to discourage Christmas celebraing Christians,
Jesus was not born on December 25.

25 December is actually the birthday of the Roman sun- god (Mithra) NOT Jesus',and
this day was celebrated in Greece long before Jesus Christ was born,and then the
Roman took over the worship of this sun- god and celebrated the same birthday ...

Then the Roman emperor Constantine
founded the Roman Catholicism in the year 307A.D.and he changed Jesus's birthday to
25 December as they were so used to this "celebration of the pagan satanic sun-god."

Actually Jesus was born in the Summer time of 17 June notDecember and this can show by
simple proof---

It is mentioned in the Bible that the shepherds watched and slept in the field that night.How
can this be possible with snow and freezing cold in December winter at Bethlehem. Besides
the three wise men or astrologers who calculated that the planet Venus came into conjuction
with another major planet in June not December to form the "Wonderful Star" of Bethlehem.

Heaven may be not so happy on this day,25 December where most people make use of
Jesus's name to make business,gambling, and all sort of money matters.

This is the day in which people do lots of futile things---got drunk,pleasure-makings and make merry.
And pagan- style of christmas trees being decorated (Jeremiah 10:1-5 ).

Yours In Christ
Cheng BwwvKuav

Anonymous said...

No where in the Bible does it mention Easter either but we still celebrate it. Let us not be distracted by the unimportant labels but focus instead on the message. Blessed Christmas everyone!

Anonymous said...

Dear Baru,
Meery Christmas. Just to convey my support to YB Chong Chieng Jen statement to today in Free Malaysia Today to urge Government to withdraw teh History Book for Form 4 & 5 as it's bias against non-muslim. Hope that all pakatan rakyat leaders in sarawak to fight against this bias act of BN. As a non-muslim, I really disagree and against this bias act of BN. The non-muslim in Sarawak & Sabah must be united to stop this bias act of BN in the next general or state election....non-muslim must brave enough to protect our rights...

Desmond said...

Merry Christmas going to all those who are passionate about Blogging irregardless of their idealogies. Have a Merry Christmas 2010 and Happy New Year 2011

ROBERT said...

Dear all lovers of God & yourself & others,
Christmas is a term adapted to celebrate His birthday no matter when,its for convenient sake i guess. No harm done if u do 1st & foremost the 1Cor 11. The so called Holy communion by some. then u want to remember His birthday & death like we love & remember our human loved ones... thats not sinful right, at the same time, this will create opportunity for us to share Him to the world.. why not..take things positive be redemptive not judgemental, be life giving tree.. love is God & God is love ...