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The joy of Christmas

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Joy and charity seem to be the normal “companions” of Christmas while greed and contention are regarded as the instinctive “mates” of politics.  Our negative experience with politics has created a gap between Christmas and politics.  And during this joyful season, we tend to leave politics behind for a while as if we are leaving reality and indulge ourselves in the fantasy world of Christmas.  We forgot the whole message of Christmas does include politics at least in four facets.

First, Christmas invokes the in-breaking of God’s government over his people.  “For unto us, a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Oftentimes, we forgot that this gentle child is also a Warrior. He is a Wonderful Counselor available for presidents, prime ministers, and politicians.  He is the Almighty God mightier than empires, emperors, and monarchies.  He’s the Everlasting Father for the people.  As the Prince of Peace, he alone can bring wholeness(peace) to the individual, politics, and the nation. And since “the government shall be on his shoulder,” this child has the ultimate and final call over all earthly governments.

During the U.S Constitution Convention in June 1787, factions within Conventions were at the verge of breaking apart.  That’s when the eighty-one-year old Benjamin Franklin delivered this famous speech asking that the Convention should begin each day with prayer.  He also asserted that “the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this Truth—that God governs in the Affairs of Men…I also believe that without this concurring Aid, we shall succeed in this political Building no better then the Builders of Babel.”

We began this year with high hopes of democracy; we end in disillusion as if we are more like the Builders of Babel.

Second, Christmas invokes the Authority of Christ over every earthly kingdom including the Kingdom of Tonga. “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.”

While Ceasar was deified and King Herod acted as his puppet representative, Jesus was born and sought after by foreigners—the wise men from Persia.  These men studied the stars, but now they are going to see the Creator of the stars.  The manger has become a throne and the little child has become a threat to political leaders. 

The Kingdom of God intervenes in the affairs of man inviting him to give back to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar and give back to God what belongs to God.  As every human being is being imprinted with the image of God, so everyone including monarchies, and prime ministers should carefully consider the challenge to surrender to this new King.

Christmas is not about theocracy, but it’s a call to merge the city of God and the city of man.  Separation of church and state does not mean a divorce of God from human affairs; rather, it is the prohibition of establishing a state religion.

Third, Christmas is a precursor to the ultimate bowing of kings before King Jesus. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Civilizations rise and fall.  Emperors, monarchies, presidents, dictators come and go.  To lead a nation with an arrogant heart is only a humpty dumpty sitting on a wall waiting for a great fall.

There is a day, where every knee—including monarchies, presidents, and prime ministers—will bow before the Child of Christmas, whether they like it or not, and confess that He’s truly King of kings and Lord of lords.

Finally, Christmas is an invitation for political leaders to serve God through their political duties. “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way,”

Politics can be a spiritual act of worship and a great companion of Christmas.  When kings, judges, and politicians humble themselves before God, justice flourishes, regardless whether it’s a monarchy or democracy.

May you rejoice with trembling and kiss the Son during this Christmas.