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23 January 2021

OPINION: From the crib to the cross

Saturday 26 December 2020 | Written by Thomas Tarurongo Wynne | Published in Editorials, Opinion

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Jesus understood that leadership was not a position or a title, that in fact it was an action and an example, writes Thomas Wynne

As we bask in the day that was Christmas and hurtle towards 2021, so many of us will be happy to see 2020 pass us by and to welcome in a new year.

The reality is, little will change except a number on our calendar which we have little control over.

Time is its own master and at the stroke of midnight 2020, we will be in 2021.

What we do have control of is what 2021 will be for us as we gather again in 12 months and look back at the year that has been, and the year of possibilities before us.

Nonetheless Christmas has happened and we have engaged in fun, family and holidays, as that for many is what Christmas brings.

But for many of us also, it is so much more than just another holiday and for many of us we celebrate not just a day off, but also the birth a baby in a trough used to hold food for animals, in a small town called Bethlehem so many years ago.

It is without dispute that December 25 was not the day he was born, but in the West, it is the day we have chosen to celebrate his birth, the birth of the one we call Jesus, Yashuah God our salvation, which is what his name means.

Jesus’ life, love or loathe him, accept or reject him, has affected the way we see the world, our laws, our conscience, our religious institutions, our neighbour, our wives, partners and children. In fact, there is not a place where his life has not in some way affected ours.

He understood that leadership was not a position or a title, that in fact it was an action and an example and he understood that love was a verb, something that was done and not just spoken.

He understood that a genuine leader did not look for consensus, he instead shaped consensus and that a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and soul of its people.

He understood that what you do and how you live your life had such a greater impact than what you said, and he understood also that leadership meant a level of integrity that was far higher than most of us have come to experience and see.

Unpopular decisions, like his pathway to the Cross at Calvary he had the courage to make, knowing that true leadership and leaders understood popularity and popular decisions should never guide the vaka of our lives or households or countries for that matter and that we are all answerable to someone.

Don’t find fault, instead find a remedy was his driving mission for mankind, and that remedy would involve his journey from that food trough in Bethlehem to the Cross.

His example, though he would in his life’s journey speak truth to power and confront the hypocrisy of the rulers and leaders of the time and religious rulers who chained their people in chains of legalism; outward appearances of good while inward he said they were like empty white tombs with dead bones in them.

He confronted the powers of Roman rule and spoke truth to their hearts on justice and injustice, and captured his life’s mission in these words.

To proclaim good news to the poor. To proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind and to set the oppressed free.

He understood that a true leader knows the way, goes the way and shows the way and would never expect others to do what he not already asked of himself, and he understood that in fact leaders don’t create followers they actually create other leaders, because we create who we are in the life of those who follow after us.

As a country, we have so much to celebrate and be thankful for and as a country we have a template for the leadership we should strive and hope for and a leadership we should expect in our hearts, homes and country.

From the crib to the cross, Christmas is just the beginning of a story that has shaped our lives, our culture, our religious world view and the way we see leadership and power.

Service is the way to leadership, not self-service, or self-profiting but instead a service that lays down its life for those they love and care for.

Love or loather, believer or not, Jesus born on Christmas day, has shaped and continues to shape our world. Because that is the power and change that deep unconditional love can bring to the deepest part of our broken hearts.