Ministers say Christmas is God’s gift

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 25, 2009

Local ministers say it is important to not get caught up in the “hustle and bustle” of the Christmas season, but to find time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and how it is a sign of God’s love for us.

“We tend to forget to make time to just be still and remember the great gift that God’s given us,” said Dr. Fred Karthaus III, pastor of First Baptist Church of Andalusia. “Certainly, family is at the center of Christmas. It was God’s desire to send Jesus into the world, not as a grown man, but to live and grow up in a human family. Also, Jesus’ death and sacrifice allows us to enter into God’s family.”

Fr. Antony Pullukattu, parish priest at Christ the King Catholic Church in Andalusia, explained that Christmas is a time of sacrifice, whether it’s spending money to buy gifts or Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for people’s sins.

“Even God entered into a sacrifice, because he came into the world in a human body with human limitations,” he said. “All the people who were with Jesus, or followed Jesus, had to eventually give up their lives for him — the disciples, John the Baptist, the early Christians. There was also the sacrifice of the children who were killed when King Herod was trying to kill the infant Jesus, and Mary and Joseph had to flee into Egypt.

“To bring out goodness in this world, and bring out the divine qualities, we need to make sacrifices in our lives as well. Love is meaningful only when we make sacrifices for those we love.”

The Rev. Scott Ferguson, pastor at Westview Baptist Church in Opp, said Christmas is a time to remember the blessings we have already received in our lives.

“The commercialization of Christmas causes people to get stressed out and lose focus on what’s really important,” he said. “We worry more about what we’re going to give others, rather than think about what we’ve already received. I think Christmas should be a time where we can stop and reflect on what’s really important in our lives.”

The Rev. Sid McCollum, interim pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Andalusia, said Christmas is a time of celebrating not just Jesus’ birth, but also of anticipating his second coming.

“Advent, which is the four weeks before Christmas, is a time where we not only prepare for celebrating Jesus’ first coming, but also make sure to be ready for when he will come again,” McCollum said. “I think it’s important to note that Jesus was born into a family of what you and I would call, ‘just normal folks.’ I believe this is a lesson of how important the family is to God, and that this sort of family life is within reach for all of us.

“These were regular people like you and me, but at the same time, they were very spiritually committed people as well.”