Celebrating Christmas - The Great Lessons of 2020
This year was presumably two thousand and twenty years (2020) after the death and resurrection to life of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a year of significance in events and developments around the world. It is an important year because not many people currently alive have passed through similar experiences in the past. And it is an exposure, the likes, of which no one would pray to witness twice in a lifetime. More than a million souls who could have remained on this side of eternity (on earth) to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones have been buried. Some of them were buried or interred without the usual last honor that they deserved because such ceremonies were forbidden because of the requirements of the health protocols. In some cases, some of them were buried with the fear that their remains could cause health hazards for the living. The irony of life is that, while those who have died have gone, those who are alive are not any better. They live daily in fear and anxiety. Their political leaders and health experts are not making life easy for them. We can safely guess that some of those who have died and buried could be happy for exiting all the tumors and problems of this world. Those who are alive are the people bearing the pains created in their hearts by the vacuum created through the sudden exit of their loved ones. Only those who are concerned and directly impacted would understand this point. There are possibly widows, children, husbands and others whose life might have drastically changed by the exit of either their mentors, breadwinners, loyal friends, or pillars of support while the deceased were on earth.
The events of the year, particularly the pandemic, have affected the joy and happiness of millions of souls all over the world. Several people lost their jobs, businesses and means of livelihood to the pandemic, a novel issue of our days. Businesses were shut down and people’s freedom was curtailed. The fear of contacting the virus was palpable and made people do many unthinkable things to relieve the pressures. Couples who were safely managing their lives and relationships through hours of absence from one another were forced to be together for unending days resulting in domestic violence, and in some cases the human stress that resulted in mental disorders. The hospitals were very busy, and the frontline workers – medical doctors, nurses, paramedics and other health workers were overwhelmed. The hospital management were selectively attending to “non-threatening” health issues of people, because of the stress on the health care facilities. It resulted in some non-threatening issues becoming serious with complications that could have been avoided and some lives were lost in the process. They were terminated not by the pandemic but by the pressures created by the situation. Some health workers unfortunately contacted the virus and not all who contacted it survived.
On the political scene, prominent leaders of the world were stressed by the management of the situation – the physical, economic and mental health of their people became unmanageable. They were faced with political backlash as the political opponents used the situations against them. Insurgences of evils pervaded the world as the wicked people were out to satisfy their goals and longings in the world which were mostly evils. Attention of the international communities were focused on how to combat the invisible enemies of the pandemic that was destroying the people and their societies very fast; and they could not pay much attention to other manifestations of evils across the nations. It was an opportunity for the terrorists to freely launch attacks against innocent people particularly the hapless people of Africa. Over one hundred farmers were literally slaughtered on their farms in the Northern part of Nigeria by a bandit called BokoHaram. Such dastardly acts are just parts of the evils that have overtaken the world in the midst of the pandemic. These evils were no doubt have been on the scene prior to the pandemic but they became strong because the wicked people believed that the world was having much in its hands and could not place attention on them.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the year 2020 is that it revealed the actual state of the world. Some of us were aware that the world is broken but what we did not know was the extent of its brokenness. The year 2020 and its events showed vividly that the world is not only broken - it is decayed, rotten and smelly. It was recorded in the Bible that many years ago, “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So, the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Gen. 6:5-7). And the Lord did; the whole earth was under water until no lives on earth were safe, except Noah, his family and the lucky animals that they selected to go into the ark with them. Today, it is more likely that God would have wiped out the world completely prior to 2020 or in 2020 because mankind has gone rogue in wickedness and sin. But God had made a covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy all flesh by the waters of the flood; (“never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth”); the events and revelations of 2020 were more than convincing that the current state of the world is worse than the state of nations prior to Noah’s flood.
If you have lived all your life in America, you probably may not understand how ordinary people of the world perceive or see America. America is commonly known as “God’s own Country”; a nation so blessed that nothing ungodly could be found therein. I grew up in a developing nation where law and order were scarce virtue and used to think highly of the United States of America. But it was shocking when I came into America to observe that people were more hostile to the name and words of God than even in the third world. I then understood that humanity all over the world- race or color; white, black, brown, English, Spanish, French or any language are the same. We had our origin from the Tower of Babel, where mankind had rebelled against God and was consequently scattered throughout the globe. The difference between the developed world and the underdeveloped nations was that the first have had Godly leaders who adhered to the laws of God and enforced them among their people. Law and order in society are the cardinal principles to peace and orderly living. There is no better world order than people that understand their freedom and the limitations of such freedom. There is no better order than having a just and equitable crime prevention program in which the just are not allowed to be molested and the criminals are prosecuted and kept away from larger society until it is assured, they are no longer threats to peace and order.
In my book, “Saving America: The War We Can’t Ignore”, published in 2012, I warned of the consequences of the destruction of the Godly education to produce a righteous society in which everyone reverences and honors God. What makes a good society is not the geographical location but the character of the people. The physical society does not get bad; it is the people who make that society that are. A wicked generation cannot produce a decent and sound society. Nothing has been wrong with the created universe but everything is wrong with mankind in the universe. Satanic people will foist on themselves leaders that are ungodly. The ungodly leaders will run an ungodly government with unrighteous policies, which will in turn destroy the economic, social and political lives of the people. In America, the nation’s foundations were laid by the Godly men and women which give room to punish crime and to defend the innocent. This was the major issue in the third world, where crime is rewarded and the law abiding are often the victims and the punished. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Pro. 14:34). Who would have thought that America would go through the kind of violent protests it witnessed in 2020? Who would have thought that the American system could be infiltrated by corrupt civil practices where civil servants for one reason or the other cover up crimes and walk innocent people into wrongdoing they never committed? Who would have thought that America would one day witness scenarios in which those who were paid to defend the citizens openly frame them up to put them in jail? The consequences of the assaults on the Godly foundations built by the founding fathers of America are now being manifested across the nation. By the time the foundations are completely demolished, America may not be recognized as predicted by some of the assailants. Their ambition is to change the American world. However, I doubt if they understand what they are changing into and that none, including themselves can escape the grave consequences of the change.
The uniqueness of America is in those foundations. America will become like any other third world when those Godly virtues are stripped off from the system. And we are now there. People outside of America are wondering what was wrong with the system that they thought was foolproof. The aftermath of the elections in 2020 no longer distinguish America from any other third world nations. The ungodly and wicked nations of the world are eager to see America down. The only reason they have not freely terrorized nations of the world is the fear of America. They will reign in wicked acts if, God forbid, America is weakened or destroyed. So, how did we get here and what is the remedy? We are here because the Church that represents Christ and Godly characters has slept, has not been concerned, and has surrendered to the will of the enemy – Satan. Years after the flood that wiped away the first world, God made good His promise by providing to the world the gift of life and the source of change through His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ. I wondered how the world would have plummeted if Christ had not been born. I cannot imagine the world without the Spirit of God and Christ. The catastrophic issue of human life from the day after the flood has remained human self and self-interest. Unfortunately, the disease of self-interest has plagued the church and if not more than the rest of the world. All the goods that could have been achieved through our lives are destroyed by human self.
On the historical first Christmas evening, an angel of the Lord stood before the country shepherds living out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock. And because the shepherds were terrified at the sight of the angel, the angel told them: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2: 10-11). To the astonishment of the shepherds, suddenly, with the angel was a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (vs 14). The shepherds could not hold their peace anymore, they went to Bethlehem to see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to the world. They saw the baby Jesus and they spread the good news concerning this Child and all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told to them by the shepherds. This is the message that the church was responsible for giving to the world. Long after the Lord Jesus Christ had completed His work of salvation for the world, the message has remained the same: to save and bless people. The world is supposed to be better with this message and we should not have evils and crises all around us at least not in this magnitude. This was why the disciples and apostles of Christ labored to get the message selflessly to the world, and it was recorded in history that they turned the world upside-down for good.
The modern-day Church has failed in giving the message of Christ and to check the evils in the world. Evils and wickedness are sprouting daily in societies and communities and growing rapidly because the message was not getting out to the people to effect a change of their way of life. The Church thought it was doing everything to give out the message but unfortunately, the Church is not communicating. One of the ingredients of effective communication is that the message is received and understood as intended. The Church was speaking but not communicating most of the time, and the words are not doing any good for the world. The world was getting worse rather than changing for the better. The message of the Church was being distorted and destroyed by the lifestyles and actions of Christians, the messengers, the Pastors and the Bishops. The actions of the people of the Church were often very contradicting to the message that they believed they were giving to the world. We are in a critical situation in which we need to communicate effectively through our words and through our lives, otherwise, the world may be heading to an unmitigated disaster. Please come Lord Jesus!
Therefore, the significance of Christmas to the ongoing situation in the world cannot be overemphasized. His name is Emmanuel: “God with us.” We survived 2020, not by chance, but by the design of God. Either God is looking to accomplish certain objectives He has set out for us, or that our God is giving us more time and additional grace to repent of the evils we have done continually. “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul; then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.” Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psa. 124). The promise of Jesus Christ, Son of God, and the Savior of the world came when the world had given up the hope of His coming. The Shepherds were glad and relieved that the spiritual transformation of the world had finally come. They were glad to be joined by the hosts of heaven.
Similarly, the same Jesus is scheduled to come back again to take His followers out of this painful world. He would soon come, not as a baby anymore, but with the shout of the arc-angels and the trumpet of God. We should be encouraged to not lose hope. Peter summed up this encouragement when he said: “The Lord is not late with his promise to return, as some measure lateness. But rather, his “delay” simply reveals his loving patience toward you, because he does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance. The day of the Lord will come and take everyone by surprise—as unexpected as a home invasion. The atmosphere will be set on fire and vanish with a horrific roar, and the heavenly bodies will melt away as in a tremendous blaze. The earth and every activity of man will be laid bare.” (1 Pet. 3:9-10). The danger for anyone getting caught by the Second Coming of Christ without salvation is the risk of hell fire. Unlike the flood that destroyed the first world, the consequence of continuous wickedness is fire. As we celebrate Christmas, let us care about the status of the world and give the good news to the world to redeem someone from the lake of fire. We also need to examine ourselves and ensure we are in faith in Christ so that the day does not come when we are not prepared to meet our God and our Creator. Merry Christmas to you.
Michael is the author of “Saving America- the war we can’t ignore” and “Shepherd through the Storms”. His new book on the “mysteries of God” will soon be out. Please look out for it.