CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2016: THE RT. REVEREND JAMES ALLEN YAW ODICO BISHOP ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF GAMBIA

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Dear Readers,

On a particular night, while shepherds in a nearby field were tending their flock they received the news of the birth of Jesus Christ through an angel of the LORD.

“Do not be afraid!” the angel said, “For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:  Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!  And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12 BSB)

This breaking news was reinforced by the sudden appearance of a multitude of other angels of God with him praising God saying,

 ‘’Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will towards men” (Luke 2:13-14 KJV).

God in His infinite love for His creation sent His only son to the earth so that so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have everlasting life (everlasting peace) John 3:16. 

Beloved in Christ, as we celebrate Christmas 2016, “We must pay closer attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” (Heb. 2.1), let us first, glorify God for this unique, vital, precious and glorious gift lavished on us by His grace, and then claim salvation by manifesting our faith in Jesus Christ.

Make sure that you do not have a wicked heart of unbelief but daily exhort one another so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardens his /her heart, for “We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly to the end the assurance we had at first.” (Heb. 3:13-14) “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. It instructs us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live sensible, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13)

Jesus says, “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9)BSB

‘’Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will towards men”

My dear readers, like our ancestors, in the days of Moses, we have also received the good news, and we who have believe will enter God’s rest; but for the unbelievers it will be as God had said “So I swore on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter My rest.’ ”

Christian friends, the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ brings peace on earth. The peace that Jesus brings is quite different from the kind of peace that the world gives. Jesus Says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(John 14:27).  

Bob Marley confirmed his limited understanding of God’s peace in his famous track: EQUAL RIGHT & JUSTICE “….. I don’t want no peace  ... I need equal right and justice”. 

True peace is being made right with God. Those who love God’s law have great peace “and nothing shall offend” them (Ps. 119:165); the wicked however shall know no peace.  Jesus the Prince of peace, “was wounded for our transgressions he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2)

Fellow Gambians and friends of the Gambia, “Pursue peace with all men, as well as holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. Be careful that no one falls short of the grace of God, so that no root of bitterness will spring up to cause trouble and defile many.” Heb. 12: 14-15). For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17). God will keep everyone “whose mind is stayed on him” “in perfect peace” because of their trust in him (Isaiah 26:3).

‘’Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will towards men”

 “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb.13:20-21)

On behalf of the Anglican family in the Diocese of Gambia, I wish the Head of state, the Government and people of our beloved nation, The Gambia; our mission partners, our brothers and sisters in the Muslim fraternity, and well-wishers, a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. 

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Source: Picture: THE RT. REVEREND JAMES ALLEN YAW ODICO BISHOP ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF GAMBIA