How do we enter into the Spirit of Christmas this month? With so many issues pulling our attention in different directions, entering into the “Christmas Spirit” might be difficult. This year with its moments that have captivated our awareness, has been a daily exercise in a spiritual and mental discipline.
But take a moment if you will, and think back to when Christ’s birth was announced, as it too was a time of mental and political tension. Look at the tension surrounding the inquiry of the Magi to Herod and the dynamics of the Roman occupation of Israel. Now reflect on the attitude of the shepherds as they realized that Good News had been shared with them concerning the child that had just been born.
In the first chapter of Romans, Paul declares his relationship and commission to what he along with the Word of God calls “the gospel,” which translates to “Good News.” He was “set apart for the gospel of God.” This is the gospel that God had promised through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures.
The gospel has always been couched in adverse surroundings, and this Christmas season is no different. I think of the meaning of Christmas as Immanuel, “God with us.” The shepherds left their fields sharing the good news and the response of people was amazement. Paul stated that he received a servant’s commission, to share the “good news” with all possible means in order to save some. The shepherds and Paul shared the good news not from compulsion, but a natural response to God’s love and grace lavished on them. I think this is a wonderful time to reflect on exactly why we are still here on this earth and why we have seen this year that the Lord has graciously given to us. We can choose to reaffirm in our hearts and spirits that we too have been given a commission, a calling, a stewardship to proclaim that Immanuel has come.
Recently, I ran across a statistic that Millennials who identify themselves as non-Christians are twice as likely to express personal interest in Christianity than older non-Christians. In fact, the Barna Group May 2018 study states that among those interested in exploring the Christian faith, 53% of the Millennials interviewed said they would most prefer to explore the Christian faith one to one with someone who is a Christian.
You and I come face to face each day with people who are more open today than ever to hear of our hope and the forgiveness of sins from a God who is as relevant today as the day the shepherds saw the glorious angels.
“Behold I bring you good news of great joy…. A Savior has been born to you…” Could you imagine one person who would hear and respond to the forever hope in Christ this year as the result of your making this message a priority? What we do with this Christmas time is now our choice and could make an eternal difference in our lives and others who are searching for hope in 2020.
In 2021, Indigenous Ministries’ commitment to share the good news of the gospel is accelerating, and we are engaging with new church planting, Bible studies and discipleship initiatives. May I encourage you to make good use of the time left before Jesus comes to invite as many people as we can to faith in Jesus? May the Lord bless you. – John Cook, CEO