Happy New Year
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE SERVANT LEADERS OF
2nd Episcopal District AME Church
James L. and Arelis B. Davis, Bishop and WMS Supervisor
Dear Second Episcopal District Family,
Arelis and I are thankful for the opportunity to extend greetings for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to each of you!
Each time we hear and share the beautiful Christmas story, we should experience a sense of awe and humility. Just think about it. God loved humankind so much that He sent His only Son into the world to save us. The extraordinary Holy Spirit conception and birth of the Christ child – Jesus - demonstrates God’s love for us. God sent His Son to be the propitiation (sacrifice) for our sins. (1 John 4:10). Love came down at Christmas!
The world into which Jesus was born more than 2,020 years ago was troubling, much like what we are experiencing in our turbulent world today. At the time of Jesus’ birth, Israel was under Roman rule with King Herod on the throne. The Israelites were heavily taxed, and many lived in poverty. Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, was conceived by a virgin through the Holy Spirit. Jesus was born in a stable. His first cradle was a manger. Jesus’ life didn’t stop there. He gave His life and rose with all power in His hands.
Perhaps you have suffered unprecedented circumstances in your life -- deaths of relatives, friends, or church members? How can you have hope when you lose someone you love? Or lost your job? Or struggle with depression? Or constantly experience social injustice and inequality.
If you can’t find the joy talked about this season, that’s OK. The first Christmas wasn’t perfect, either. The birth of Jesus Christ was full of imperfect situations and imperfect people. But Jesus didn’t wait for the world to be perfect; He came in the midst of suffering.
Jesus still came. Just like us, he was born of a woman. He came as a babe into the darkness of a world in turmoil. He experienced the stages of developmental growth, just as we do-did. He walked among us, was hungry, tired, and didn’t have a place to call His own. He, in every respect, has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15). No matter how things appear out of control, God keeps all His promises. As the prophet Isaiah declared in Isaiah 7:14. He (Jesus) is “Immanuel,” God with us,”
The wonderful truth of the gospel is that Christians are saved because God loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (sacrifice) for our sins (1 John 4:10). Through faith in Jesus Christ as God’s perfect sacrifice, we have the gift of reconciliation with God through Christ Jesus, who has conquered death and upon His return will reign forever and ever as King of kings and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah!
We can find hope, peace, joy, and love in Christ's birth which was different because of Who He is. An angel announced His coming by telling His mother, Mary, “He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most-High” (Luke 1:32).
God’s love is evident in the scripture Isaiah 9:6., “For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The child prophesized by the Prophet Isaiah has come and paid the price for our sin and now sits on the right hand of God, our Father, awaiting the Father’s time for the Prince of Peace to claim His Bride—the Church. We should be vigilant, expectant, and patiently awaiting Christ’s coming as we do the work assigned to our hands and heart to do until He comes. This Christmas season should inspire us to live in the overflow of God’s love demonstrated in His gift to us as His children.
As we celebrate, may we be conscious that some may be experiencing such emotions as loneliness, social isolation, and depression. These feelings can be heightened during this period of celebration. As the family of God, remember those needing a loving hand, such as the elderly, those in nursing homes, and children in hospitals. Let them know we care by visiting, inviting them to be a part of our celebrations, and other means that will bring joy and comfort during this holiday Season.
May the message and spirit of Christmas fill you with love, peace, and joy. May God richly bless you with his peace, joy, and presence this Christmas Season. And we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!
James and Arelis Davis, Servant Leaders