CHRISTMAS MESSAGE – 2006

Sometimes God Gives Us More than We Ask For

Galatians 4.4-5:  “But when the time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”

In ten days’ time we in Uganda, along with the rest of the world, will celebrate Christmas.  We will go to church, sing hymns, listen to the story of Jesus’ birth, and pray.  We will gather with our families and eat food.  Why?  Why do we do these things?

Because sometimes God gives us more than we ask for.

In the Old Testament, the people of Israel loved the Prophet Moses and their King, David.  When they died, the people grieved and mourned, and always wanted another Moses and another David.  God even promised he would give them another Moses.  In Deuteronomy 18.15, the Bible says, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.”

God promised that David’s Kingdom would never end.  In 2 Samuel 7.12, God says, “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom….Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”

God’s people were longing for another Moses; they were asking for another David.  But, in the end, God gave them more than they were asking for.  God gave them not only another prophet like Moses.  God gave them not only another King like David.  God gave them His very own Son – Jesus.

My fellow Ugandans, I know we are all longing for Words of hope and Words of life – things a Prophet can bring.  I know we are all longing for godly leadership in every sphere of our family, community, and national life – things a King can bring.  We want prophets like Moses and kings like David for our country, Uganda.   But, sometimes God gives us more than we ask for.   God has given us Jesus, and I urge all Ugandans to embrace Jesus this Christmas so that, in the words of the Bible, we might “receive the full rights of sons.” (Galatians 4.5)

As I think back over the year 2006, we can see that God has actually given us more than we asked for.

•    God gave us peace during the season of our elections.  And, I want to thank, once again, all Ugandans who embraced the principles of democracy and exercised this right and responsibility by casting votes and not turning to violence.

•    God is slowly restoring peace to our beloved northern Uganda.  And, I want to really thank His Excellency, the President, for his leadership in the peace talks ongoing in Juba, and for the relative stability they have brought to the northern region.  I want to thank the LRA for humbling themselves, as God humbled Himself in the birth of Jesus, and laying down their weapons.  But, now is not the time to stop praying.  Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace,’ and we must continue to pray and work for peace and practical reconciliation for our brothers and sisters in northern Uganda.

•    I have been asking God to give us unity in the Church of Uganda, especially among our Bishops, and I have seen God give even more than I have asked for!  Our bishops have rallied together in support of the widow of the late Bishop of Karamoja, Bishop Peter Lomongin.  They have rallied together to support the family of the retired Archbishop, Livingston Nkoyoyo, at the time of the burial of their son, Martin.  They have visited Muhabura Diocese, and through their unity and prayer, God gave us a breakthrough in that long-standing conflict.  They went to North Mbale in very large numbers to consecrate the Bishop there last Sunday, the 10th of December.  I really want to commend the leadership of our church on their commitment to unity and community.

Sometimes God really does give us more than we ask for.

So, this Christmas, may I urge all Ugandans to do three things:

1.    Jesus is God’s answer to our longings and desires.  Whatever it is you have been asking God to do in your life, this Christmas you need to know that Jesus is God’s answer to your prayer.  His presence in your life will bring more than you can ask for.  Has he redeemed you?  Have you received your “full rights” as a son?

2.    Our children who are studying at Makerere University have been sent home.  Jesus, the ‘Prince of Peace’ can bring healing to this conflict.  I ask you to pray for our leaders and lecturers to find a solution that does not compromise the education of our children.  Right now, our children are paying the price.  Pray that God will give us more than we ask for in this situation.

3.    We have been asking God for peace in northern Uganda.  Pray that God will give us more than we ask for – not only that long-term peace will return, but that northern Uganda will thrive spiritually, socially, and economically for the blessing of our country and the entire Great Lakes region.  I call upon all Ugandans to make a practical contribution towards the rebuilding of the families, farms, and infrastructure of northern Uganda.

I send warm Christmas greetings to President Yoweri Museveni, Maama Janet and the entire family and all government leaders. As our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters bid their beloved Cardinal Wamala a holy retirement, we send you our sincere Christmas greetings, along with prayers for a blessed Christmas for our Orthodox and Pentecostal brethren, and all those who have looked in hope for the coming of our Redeemer and Saviour, Jesus.

May God bless you during this Christmas season and prosper the year 2007 with more than you can ask for.  Because that is who our God is – “When the time had fully come, God sent his son… that we might receive the full rights of sons.”

To God be the glory.

The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi
ARCHBISHOP OF CHURCH OF UGANDA.

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