AS families in Port Moresby and around Papua New Guinea, gather around the crib on Christmas Day for prayers and carols with their children at home or with their congregations at church, they must realise that they are also gathering around Jesus and are looking to him for new life, the Anglican Bishop of Port Moresby, Rev Peter Ramsden said.
Rev Ramsden said Christmas must not be a time we choose only to come to adore Jesus but to decide to live as his followers.
“During Christmas, we give thanks that the message of Jesus Christ has gone all around the world and also that we can gather around Jesus in faith and fellowship,” he said, adding that in a world where so many things go wrong, it was really important to remember that God is with us in Jesus.
“We also need to be reminded of his presence at other times. Jesus doesn’t just say ‘come to me,’ he also says ‘follow me’.
“If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget self, carry his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16.24). The baby in the stable grew up, he called and taught and led followers, he challenged and changed lives, he still calls us to the giving of our lives in faithful love and service as part of his great family, the church,” Bishop Ramsden said.
“All those people gathered around the crib with you are your brothers and sisters, all of them can be your companions in faith as we accept the challenge of Christian discipleship.
“Christian discipleship means being open to God’s guidance and direction, listening to our conscience, judging what is right or wrong, changing our lives and behaviour when we need to – in other words being obedient to his commandments.”
The Christmas crib scene, he said, reminded Christians of both comfort and commandments, of cheer and challenge.
“This wonderful birth is what gives us strength and hope for our lives. As we gather round in faith to hear the Christmas story again and let Jesus call us and lead us, we ourselves become part of that on-going and life-changing story.”