Christian leaders from all over the world joined in a special global Christmas service livestreamed online to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
On December 20, the Ramesh Richard Evangelism and Church Health (RREACH), a global proclamation ministry which aims to promote the Lord Jesus Christ worldwide, held a global Christmas service filled with carols, Scripture, and a message.
Pastor Seal Sylvester from the Gambia, led an opening prayer, “God, we thank you because of your provision for our liberation from the bondage of corruption. Thank you for ushering Christ into the planet to set us free. Thank you for the hope that we now have in Christ. Without him, our hearts will break into pieces. Without this hope, Lord, we would starve to death. But we thank you for this hope and we celebrate this hope today.”
Traditional carols like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, and “Angels We Have Heard on High” were sung, while questions such as “what is the first word that comes to you when you hear the word ‘Christmas’?” and “in a word, describe how do you see Christ in your life?” were displayed on the screen for interaction.
After Donna Tan from the Philippines read Luke 1:26-38 as the scripture, Dr. Ramesh Richard, president of RREACH and founder of TOPIC (Trainers of Pastors International Coalition), an international coalition of pastoral training organizations accelerating pastoral training where the Church is growing, preached a message titled “A Christmas Yes!”
Recalling the Global Integrated Report on Pastoral Training attended by a thousand trainers of pastors six months before on July 1, the speaker first greeted Christians who range from Albania to Zimbabwe, from Argentina to Zambia, and many a country in between.
Citing the story of Mary being told chosen as the virgin mother of Jesus in Luke 1:26-38, Dr. Richard encouraged people who are used by God to “say yes” to his calling and plan.
There were two particular reactions from the passage: the “who me” question which revealed our insignificance while doing God’s work, and the “how me” question that exposed our incompetence for his “impossible” plan.
As the angel Gabriel prophesied the divinely generated birth to a favored virgin Mary of the Lord Jesus, the author Luke demonstrated that God works through human agencies for his saving work. Similar to the virgin birth of Jesus, the virgin conception of the church was evident in Acts.
Mary, a virgin from Galilee, Nazareth, chosen by God’s grace, was “troubled” (v.29) with the “who me” question in her heart. Her reaction was much like most of the characters in the Scripture: Isaiah confessed he was a sinner when the vision came to him, Jeremiah said he was a youth, and Amos admitted he was just a shepherd.
“Who, me? I hope you never stop asking that question, my friend. That’s the right view of the self - to always consider one’s self as insignificant in God’s economy. You know ministry is not about us. I never want you to stop asking ‘who, me?’; stop asking the question ‘will I deserve the ministry?’” said Dr. Richard.
“But we now move to the fact that ministry is through me, through you,” he added.
From God’s call came along a spectacular announcement that the angel made: she would conceive in her womb and bring forth a son who shall be called Jesus. However, the virgin, a little girl in Galilee rather than Jerusalem, raised a “how me?” question in verse 34: “are you sure that you are choosing the right person?”
The speaker said, “I know this COVID-19 environment has crushed us. Our hearts are faint. Our minds are weary. Our hands are weakened. And we will never stop asking the question: ‘how me?’”
The angel answered that the power of God would come upon her despite her insignificance and he would validate it for her as he did for her barren cousin Elisabeth who was pregnant for six months (v.35-36).
“We can go beyond the ‘who, me?’ and ‘how me?’ An incredible statement is found in verse 37. It is not, ‘Mary, nothing is impossible with you.’ No! Actually, everything is impossible when it comes to us. Throughout Scripture, the Lord asks Abraham and Sarah, ‘is anything too hard for me?’ The Lord says, ‘Is my hand shortened that I cannot save?’ In Jeremiah, it says, ‘Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.’” It is, “nothing is impossible with God!”
“There are people on this call whom I have met personally. God has worked impossible over the last decade. They sit with an acknowledgment, filled with wonder and awe because the God of the impossible worked through them in situations beyond their control as COVID-19 has presented to us.”
“All because, in the final declaration Mary says : ‘Behold the bond slave of the Lord; here I am.’ (v. 38)The bond slave, that’s all it required. Say yes to the Lord: ‘be it done according to your word’. We call it a ‘Christmas Yes’ service,” he concluded.
Dr. Manrique Salazar from Costa Rica prayed, “With a humble attitude, we invite you to use everything in this year for your glory, for changing us, for helping us and pushing us toward being faithful witnesses of your son Jesus Christ, for proclaiming more faithfully the most precious name there is, the most wonderful news that somebody can tell others there is good news of the gospel and of Jesus Christ. Father, we pray that you can use our ministries and our lives for bringing health to your church, for proclaiming more faithfully, for expanding the kingdom for your glory.”
A closing carol “Silent Night” was sung in different languages, including Hindi, Burmese, Tamil, German, Bahasa, and Korean, to observe the birth of the Lord.