No Christmas this year?

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, December 17, 2016

[Editor’s note: The Tidewater News welcomes the Rev. Darnell E. Whitfield of Diamond Grove Baptist Church in Franklin to the roster of contributing pastors who are providing inspirational and thought-provoking columns weekly. The paper welcomes clergy to participate. Contact Stephen H. Cowles, staff writer, at 562-3187 or for details.]

by Darnell Whitfield

Throughout my life I have always heard the words, “I’m sorry, there will be no Christmas this year.”

This was usually said when one felt the necessity to announce that no gifts should be expected on Christmas Day.

As a pastor, I feel that I must correct what I believe to be falsehoods and insert the truth.

We are exactly one week before Christmas Day and guess what?

Christmas is coming!

Just like the Grinch, in the holiday favorite, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” we must learn the true meaning of the holiday, and then extend that truth to our loved ones.

The truth of the matter is that we all have been corrupted by the I, me mine attitude that permeates our society. We feel as though there is an obligation to give the latest gadget, the most advanced technology, the costliest diamond and so on.

We have forgotten that there is more to this season than giving, or getting loot from our parents or spouse.

What is it?

It is remembering that there is a God who allowed His only Son to have enter into a world of chaos, evil and separation from Him, because of our sinful nature.

One-hundred percent of the wrong that goes on in the world is because of our sinful nature, and yet God gifted us with His Son Jesus Christ.

This beautiful baby boy was God in the flesh.

This beautiful baby boy was for one brief and wonderful moment in time brought peace on earth.

This beautiful baby boy would grow in stature, wisdom and the power to heal the sick, bring sight to the blind and offer the kingdom of Heaven to all.

This beautiful baby boy would be brutally whipped, shredding his back, beaten, mocked laughed at, made to carry His own cross to Golgotha (the place of the skull,) even though He was weak from the loss of life giving blood from His body.

This beautiful baby boy would have His hands and feet nailed to a cross to be the perfect sacrifice for all of mankind’s sin.

Yes, God gave the gift that first Christmas that unlike the latest gadget will be out of date in several months; that beautiful item of clothing that one would wear for a month or two and then be forgotten with all the rest of the clothes in the closet; or even that motor vehicle that will eventually break down. No, God’s gift of His Son Jesus Christ lasts an eternity and blesses us all forever.

So how can we make sure that Christmas truly comes?

There are two ways: by becoming a light and a delight.

We can become a light by accepting the truth of Jesus Christ into our hearts and become lights of the world.

In Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) Jesus says, “14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

We can become a delight by giving of ourselves to those who are in need.

In Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV) Jesus states, “34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

My friends, should you give a gift this year make sure that you never forget the greatest of gifts given by our Father God and that is His Son Jesus Christ.

Christmas will come without toys, clothes or even roast beef, so relax with the knowledge that the true gift is not under the tree — the true gift lies in your heart!

DARNELL WHITFIELD is senior pastor of Diamond Grove Baptist Church in Franklin. Contact him at 742-1343 or