The Christmas season has always been a time of manifest joy and hope. The people of God rejoice in the great celebrations of the birth of our Lord and Savior. He is not only the reason for this season, He has also come to rekindle hope, living hope, in the hearts of His people. The Christ we celebrate came into the world heralding joy and peace as He came, even as He was born in a place meant for raising horses. The humble beginning of our Savior, born in a stable, did not in any way diminish the dignity and honor that is accorded His name all over the world today. Angels heralded His coming and shepherds gathered in holy adoration as they worshipped a child King who was born in a manger. Wise men followed a star to offer gifts and pay homage to the King that was born in a stable. This is a great lesson for us children of God, that humble beginnings do not nullify our God-given dignity. The conferral of dignity is of God, and our station or lot in life does not remove this dignity.
All of us children of God have an inherent dignity that is a-priori conferred on us because we have been created in the image of God. “We have been fearfully and wonderfully made” – Psalm 139:14. Being poor, being sick, becoming an alcoholic, or running out of our luck does not remove this grace given by God Himself. Our human nature tends to respect and acknowledge the dignity that we ourselves develop through our earthly struggle and neglect to recognize the dignity we have by the fact of our being created in God’s image. We spend time and effort trying to develop our own dignity and once we attain success, we tend to look down on others who are not as successful as we are. We strip them of their God given dignity. There is nothing wrong with the dignity we build for ourselves, but we must remember that it is individualistic. However, when we also help to build others, we fulfill God’s instruction to us to love others as we love ourselves and also help to improve self-worth and dignity. Helping others to succeed is helping to develop or restore dignity.
One of the songs we like to sing is “Everywhere He went, He was doing good, Almighty Healer, He healed the leapers, When the cripples saw Him, they started walking. Everywhere He went my God was doing good.” Our Lord gave attention to all these people and in so doing conferred dignity upon them. Our mission as followers of Christ is to do the same. We must give adequate attention to the sick and the broken hearted, and in so doing also confer dignity and honor on them. The Word of God teaches us to “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” – 1 Peter 2:17. Honoring all people presumes that we recognize the dignity in all people.
One thing is sure about us Christians. We do know the right thing to do, but something gets in the way, and we do not do them the way we are supposed to. The Christian founding fathers of America recognized the inherent worth in every creation of God which they said is self-evident. They so much believed in this self-evident dignity that the Lord has blessed each of His creation that were created in His image with that they included these words in the declaration of independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” They are in essence saying everyone has the right to live in dignity. We all have a role to play in ensuring that this indeed is the case. Christ said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” – John 13:34-35. This is what we have been called to do. Loving one another involves recognizing the dignity in one another, and where the dignity is already affected, we do all we can to help restore it.
People of God, especially in this season of hope and joy, let us help to restore hope and joy by recognizing the inherent dignity of our fellow men and treating them with that esteem. The angels, shepherds, and wise men of the Nativity story respected the dignity of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, even in their humble circumstances. His immediate needs were met by various visitors who came bearing gifts. We are called to do no less as we seek and serve Christ in all people. The lives we live are supposed to reflect the heart of God and the Word of God teaches that our God is a God of compassion, mercy, and justice. So, we must in all circumstances strive to show compassion and mercy to all people, while we also seek justice for all people regardless of their station in life. May the joy and peace of this season remain with you now and always.
December 19, 2021 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya