The article below was published in Caledonia’s Regional News paper as one of Gary McHale’s weekly columns. Gary’s example and instruction were key to me eventually deciding to become a Christian. More below… (all photos added by VoC)…
Christmas: God’s gift to Haldimand County
by Gary McHale (Dec 21/11)
I am quite certain that God’s gift to mankind wasn’t a Turkey, stuffing, cranberries and an iPod (or a stone tablet and a chisel). Even the Charley Brown Christmas show tells us that the gift was God’s son being born in a manger. However, it wouldn’t have been much of a gift if Jesus grew up to be a drunken sailor.
God’s gift includes the life Jesus lived and how Jesus was willing to pay a price in order to show the love of God to all mankind. If Christmas was merely about giving then God could have rained down Turkeys and cranberries until everyone was full.
Christmas is about Jesus being willing to sacrifice himself to bring us the truth. As he stated before Pilate, “the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth”. This truth caused riots, crowds called for him to be stoned and he was finally crucified. His death is as much a part of Christmas as his birth is. While Jesus doesn’t walk the earth today, he lives on in the hearts of all Christians who are called to be the salt and light of their communities.
For this reason I have, for the past 30 years, wondered what pastors and Christians who lived in the deep South would say when they stand before God and are asked what they did to help their black neighbours, what they did to end racism or what they did to address the injustice that they saw every day. I envision the Christian saying, “I did pray privately and I didn’t engage in any beatings but I was afraid to speak out, I was afraid of what my neighbours would say, would I lose my job, would my family be targeted for hate so I… well… didn’t do much.”