Are You A Stranger To Christmas?

Luke 24.13-21 Behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was sixty stadia from Jerusalem. They talked with each other about all of these things which had happened. It happened, while they talked and questioned together, that Jesus himself came near, and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk, and are sad?” One of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things which have happened there in these days?” He said to them, “What things?” They said to him, “The things concerning Jesus, the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we were hoping that it was he who would redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.

Often times we quote the statement: “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things which have happened there in these days?” whenever an individual is not aware or asking questions regarding a scene, issue or affair that is very obvious and in the public domain. But what seemed to be obvious in this context was not obvious. Thought they had gone to the tomb and verified that Jesus’ body was not there which was a sign of his resurrection, they were either not convinced or they had forgotten. Lu 24:22-24 Also, certain women of our company amazed us, having arrived early at the tomb; and when they didn’t find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of us went to the tomb, and found it just like the women had said, but they didn’t see him.” Their eyes and spirit were blinded to the fact that the very individual they were conversing with was the very theme and subject they were discussing about. This was so till they shared in the breaking of bread together: Lu 24:30-32 It happened, that when he had sat down at the table with them, he took the bread and gave thanks. Breaking it, he gave to them. Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished out of their sight. They said one to another, “Weren’t our hearts burning within us, while he spoke to us along the way, and while he opened the Scriptures to us?”

We are in the Christmas festive and in a few days will be Christmas day. Hopefully, you and I are not strangers in the town, country, world and universe at large. It is in the public domain that this is the festive where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ though it doesn’t mean that that is exactly the date and month of birth. Like these two disciples, majority may think that they are not strangers to this fact but ironically the level of blindness is so high. Like Cleophas and his friend, majority know theoretically that Christ Jesus was born to save the world, he died, resurrected, ascended to heaven and his very present lives with us as God Emmanuel and that he is coming back to judge the world. That is very obvious. But is that all? Other than knowledge alone, we are called to believe. Other than merry and festivity, it is also a moment to reflect in the relationship we’ve had with him. 

When Cleophas and his colleague were asking ‘THE STRANGER’ about the occurrence of the time, they were ready to continue with the conversation but it turned out that they were the uninformed ones. If the same question will be asked during this festive season, why is everyone happy and marrying around? The answer of one being a stranger or not will depend on which side of coin one is for. To some it will be: This is a tradition, the Christmas festive where we always come together and celebrate together, eat together, exchange presents, and drink and so on.  Others will answer that it is a moment to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we evaluate our walk with him, visit the less fortunate, celebrate together, etc. when these answers are weighed against the scriptures, it then when we can determine who the real stranger is and needs to be advised and informed. Lu 24:31 their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished out of their sight. Until we feed of his body and blood by accepting Him as the lord and Saviour of our lives, we remain aliens and foreigners to the very covenant he has established. We remain strangers till we accept Christ Jesus. Christmas will only be a sensible celebration if you have Christ born in your heart. Romans 10:8-13 But what does it say? “The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart”; that is, the word of faith which we proclaim; because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Everyone believing on Him shall not be put to shame.” For there is no difference both of Jew and of Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him. For everyone, “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The invitation is that of a welcome to the family where you’re an heir, not a stranger.

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