Have you ever considered that Christmas is more about the birth of world missions and less about the birth of a child?The God who gave us his Son did so because he loved the world and wanted that no one would perish but have everlasting life. The first coming of Jesus (Advent) was not just a sweet story about pregnant Mary and her fiancé traveling to Bethlehem, to avoid judgement by the neighbors or even to pay taxes to Cesar. It is the fantastic account of God’s faithfulness to humanity, keeping his word from Genesis 3, and his multiple promises to the people of Israel, the Kings, and the Prophets. It is a story of redemption, not just for a lucky few nor a cover up, but an important chapter in the very long story of redemption, forgiveness, and love. In one week from today we will be celebrating that God took this mission so personal that he sent no one less than his own Son.
At this time of year I am often asked if celebrating Christmas is something we should do in light of the many non-Christian winter festivities that have become part of Christmas tradition. Actually, I think that is one of the best reasons to celebrate Christmas. Jesus took the extraordinary step of becoming fully man while retaining all of what it meant to be fully God. His incarnation becomes the message itself. The very heart of missions is that we engage the world with the gospel by becoming all things to all men, so that we might save some. And our God takes sinful humanity and makes us Saints. He takes all of our failings and turns them into the message of reconciliation. So then he who redeems all things, redeems our winter festivities, traditions, and our cold hearts and makes them new. If I can believe in the redemption of the humanity and creation (Revelation 21.1-5) then can anything be too hard for God to make new?
In the spirit of missions, redemption, and Christmas, I hope you will invite your friends, family, and neighbors to hear the Good News on Christmas Eve at one of our two services (4:00 or 6:00 pm).