Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ has found Christians under a difficult period of a pandemic which has so far killed hundreds of thousands in the world and paralyzed economies.
Even though they could not celebrate, shout or in some instances gather for fellowship due to COVID-19 preventive measures, Christians were told the essential message and meaning of Christmas. The message was spread via virtual means or at some churches where venues accommodate 50% of actual capacity.
At Evangelical Restoration Church Masoro-Gasabo district in Kigali, Senior Pastor Lydia U. Masasu first preached a message of restoration of hearts that were affected by difficult moments of this year under COVID-19 and, having reminded that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, she said:”This morning, I pray that God restores you and heals all your wounds.”
The birth of Jesus, how the Magi or else referred to as the three wisemen helped Pastor Lydia Masasu to convey the message of Christmas. She said that the star guided them from afar and they first reached Herod who was the then King of Judea.
“They asked him about the King who was born. Imagine asking a reigning king about another king, in his country. He would have put them in jail, but God did not allow that,” Lydia Masasu said.
“Herod rather convened his wisemen to investigate and find out about Jesus.”
After reaching Jesus from where he was born in a manger in Bethlehem of Judea, and, convinced that he was a king, they offered him the best gifts they could-Gold.
“To the King of all gifts, they offered gifts. Today, Jesus does not want from us any other gifts, he only wants us to offer ourselves as Living Sacrifices,” said Lydia Masasu quoting Romans 12:1.
“Hold onto Jesus, he is your perfect gift,” Lydia Masasu further said as she sung a song according to which “God took all the gifts and blessings and placed them as a complete package into Jesus whom he gave us.”
With the song, the preacher indicated that whoever receives Jesus receives peace in him.
Apostle Paul Gitwaza at Zion Temple Gatenga, Kicukiro district also talked about the history of Jesus Christ and he brought many more details on the people who came first to pay tribute to him, the magi-
He even reached a point to mention the names of the three men as Gaspard, Melchior, and Balthazar.
“The story of these names was not confirmed but let’s see; why the wisemen? These were Gentiles, not Jews but they were kings,” Gitwaza said.
“It is meaningful; Jesus came for everyone, not just Jews and he is the King of Kings; the choosing of these wisemen from the East who are not Jews means that salvation is for everyone-all nations need to worship him, be it strong or weak, be it powerful and the average regular people…name it, everyone needs Jesus.”
Gitwaza also reminded that the magi did not come empty-handed but with precious gifts.
Gitwaza said, that having Jesus in one’s life is of a great treasure. “I pray that you surrender all to him so that he in turn gives himself to you,” Gitwaza said.
At Rwanda Television, Antoine Rutayisire, Senior Pastor of Anglican church, Giporoso parish said; “Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. Those who have Him in their hearts will never perish.”
Meanwhile, in several other churches from accross the country and beyond were shared. Peace and love that were given to the world by Jesus was central message.
Christians were reminded to hold onto Jesus and to belive in he who changes times and circumstances, God who will change the difficult times of COVID-19 into a seson of joy.
“God has always been with us. Let me tell you; God never said that we will be safe from difficulties, but he never leaves us to walk alone. During this pandemic, God is with us,” said Pastor Rutayisire.