January 2024 | Conversion: Persecutor Turns Promoter



Dr. Valson Abraham

Christians have more reason to rejoice and celebrate than any other religion on earth.  As Christians, we worship God who assures us of salvation in a way that no religion can offer.  We receive salvation without any human possibility to merit it. 

The Christmas season should be a time of festivity and joy, celebration and triumph that transcends the frantic secular holiday that it has become for too many people, including many Christians. 

We do not celebrate a God of myth.  We celebrate a God who came and lived in our midst, in real time.  We can pinpoint when and where He lived, worked and interacted.  People spoke with Him, touched Him and experienced His healing word and power. 

Even a cynical Roman centurion at Jesus’ crucifixion recognized Jesus’ divine nature in human flesh when he proclaimed, “Truly this was the Son of God.”  Even Paul, a rabid anti-Christian, had his life permanently changed when he experienced the glory of Christ on the road to Damascus. 

Christian faith involves a personal relationship with the maker of the universe.  We are members of a royal family.  God is our mighty fortress, our loving Father who loved us even before He created the universe.  Our privileged relationship with Him is based upon unfathomable grace.  We have opportunities, right now, to experience eternal life even in our mortal and flawed bodies and imperfect circumstances. 

We must recognize and celebrate all of these things.  We need special occasions when the presence of the Holy Spirit is so strong that everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, can experience a small taste of heaven and glorify God.

Such special times may involve food and fellowship and can become non-threatening and revealing evangelistic events for non-Christians.  Indian culture is especially conducive for enjoyment of rich foods with many kinds of wonderful flavors and textures.  These things can become symbols of the rich blessings that God has given to all who will accept them in faith.  The presence of God will do even moreto fill that empty place in their spirits as they hear believers testify to the work of the Lord in their lives.

Christian faith is a singing faith. We must use the musical instruments and art forms for our Christian worship and praise.  We must see these musical and art forms as an opportunity for Christians to share what God has done in our lives.  These things can become tangible expressions of God’s transforming power in the culture.

Some Christians are hesitant about getting too festive.  This stems from a fear that huge festivals often become excuses for outright crass merrymaking.  Some festivals have even resulted in extreme mob actions and panic, such as stampedes, that cause deaths of hundreds of men, women and children.  But Christians should never avoid opportunities for communal expressions of thanksgiving and joy.

As Christians with so much to celebrate, we should consider having more festivals by which to celebrate our faith.  We should celebrate, not as an end in itself but because we have a story to tell, a testimony to share, with the whole body of believers and the community at large.

May our faith never become merely a collection of abstract religious beliefs but a relationship with the living God that causes us to celebrate with thanksgiving and praise.

 Father God, Thank you for giving us so much to celebrate through the coming of your Son into the world.  Help me to experience your continued presence in every part of my life.  Help me to know you and to make you known to those who have yet to experience your presence in their lives.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen

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