Office of the Primate

The Primate is directly supported by:

Chaplain and Private Secretary, Rev Joseph Ayach Deng, +211 (0) 927127312

Communications Officer, Mr Manyang Gabriel Kon, +211 (0) 912389415

International Coordinator, Mrs Kate Brankin, +211 (0) 924053918

Driver, Mr John Ladu

                  Celebrating the love of God to the world.

                                 Psalms 117, Isaiah 62:1-5, Matthew 1:18-25

The celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas day demonstrates God’s love for the world and God’s intervention in human situation. Love is what everybody needs, but it is always scarce. The world is in need of Love. We thank God that the love God provides is sufficient. Psalms 117 verse two says ‘’ His unfailing love for us is powerful…’’ The prophet Isaiah explains this love in many ways such as; God holding you in His hand, giving hope in a hopeless situation, and gives a new name. (v 3-5)

 The summary is that the present situation of Jerusalem will not remain the same. Your present challenges or hardships will not remain the same. But all this does not just come automatic. It first requires strong obedience to the Lord.

Let’s all learn from Joseph and Mary how they were obedient to the will of God even if it was challenging, then ended up in glory.

[18]” Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

This was a disgrace for Mary to get pregnant before she could officially be handed to Joseph. All sorts of names could be labeled on her. Her hope for a nice wedding, respect and dignity had gone. Even to her parents who claimed that their daughter was a virgin.

To Joseph, it was disturbing to see that the girl he intends to marry is already pregnant. This indeed was painful and it brought doubt his relationships with his fiancée, and it was difficult to explain this to his friends and his family.

In the Jewish culture, the only thing was to have such a girl to be stoned. But the reaction of Joseph was just to leave her quietly (v 19). The bible says he was a just man. A just man handles difficult situations differently and wisely.

This year’s Christmas celebration reminds all men of South Sudan to be just in handling family issues because it is a sign of Christian maturity.

In verse 20, the Angel responded to Joseph quietly in a dream. Why did God do it this way since this pregnancy ruined the reputations of these young couple in their community?  

The angel would have explained the situation to everybody to lessen the shame of Joseph and Mary, but all was done quietly without putting it to the public on social media.  

 We are going to learn four lessons from the life of these couple.

A. Trust and Absolute Obedience to God’s will

Joseph had to believe the impossible and risk everything on it. That comes only from trusting God’s ability to work all things for good in our life situations. God’s ways are always different from our ways. In Isaiah He says: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways., declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

B. Acceptance of a Sentence of Death for God’s glory.

 Mary and Joseph had to die to their good name, their cherished dreams; in obedience to God’s will in their life. This is always not easy. God is going to direct some of you to stand for His truth, and people will abuse you and calling you crazy and foolish.  Like Joseph and Mary, you are encouraged to remain obedient to the Lord. Each of us might have experienced this in many ways and have seen how bitter it is. (your own example… )

C. Self-Denial

Matthew 1:25 says; Joseph didn’t” know” Mary as a wife until after the birth of Jesus. He has to wait a year in betrothal; again he waited another year as Marry carried the pregnancy. He denied himself in obedience to God’s will.  Yes, following Jesus means denying yourself some things you might otherwise enjoy, but you avoid it in obedience to God’s word. But that spirit of self-denial is now fading away in this generation, amongst the youth and some public servants.

We have singles that aren’t willing to wait before marriage.  Joseph was married and waited for the will of God. If you are going to follow Jesus, you have to consent to do things his way even if it means denying yourself some things you might otherwise have.

Verses 22 and 23 tells us that the birth of Jesus was actually a fulfilment of a prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 which says: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel, meaning; “God with us.”

Yes, God is always with His people right from the beginning.  In the Garden of Eden God walked with Adam and Eve every night. ‘’ God walks with us.”

 When God led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, he was with them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night and the children of Israel said,” The Lord is before and behind us.” (Ex 14:19) And now when Jesus was to be born, the angel says;” Call him Immanuel; God is with us.”

Knowing that God is with us should give us courage and hope for our future and in all our life challenges. Yes, our world is faced with many challenges:

The ongoing destructive wars around the world, the constant inter communal violence in our own country and the political dilemma of our country at the end of the transitional period in December 2024. As we face these challenges, let us look to the self-emptying Christ Jesus, who was born among us in fragility, vulnerability, displacement and refugee in order to identify with us in our most profound human struggles.

In your own situation, know that Jesus is with you. The life of Joseph and Mary tells us that; Jesus is worth the pain and the shame and the shattered dreams. On this Christmas we are all encouraged to join Joseph and Marry in committing ourselves to the service of this new born child.

                 May God be with you all Amen.