This is my LifeMatters post for this week, and I liked it enough to double post it.
When I look back at the Christmas story I see simplicity, humility, peace, and love. It’s because of God’s love for all people that the Christmas story even exists. I see some meager surroundings and smelly shepherds as an audience. Nothing over the top or spectacular about His entrance to our world. But as I look around today, the Christmas season has quickly become the busiest time of the year. People fight over toys, WalMart employees get trampled by crazy people looking for a deal, and selfishness seems to rule. Our thoughts are consumed by decorating our house, sending out cards so everyone can see how wonderful our family is, buying the best gifts, and making sure our children have a magical holiday. How different do those two scenes appear? How did we get here from there?
Oddly enough, I feel church has become very similar. Christ came for others, to redeem that which was lost. His focus was never on Himself. His desires were always to obey the Father and save humanity. The original churches were places focused on telling others about Jesus and serving their communities. People living openly with each other. Living and sharing life together. People chose to sacrifice for the good of others. Today’s churches often seem too inwardly focused. We argue over meaningless topics while people are hurting and struggling right next door. We form committees to discuss forming committees while people go to sleep hungry. Families are suffering and falling apart with a smile on their faces sitting in “their” pew Sunday after Sunday. How did we get here from there?
This whole month is going to be about looking at the world through God’s eyes. Very often we talk about having a Christian worldview, but I think we need to have God’s view of the world. We can look around and justify excluding people from the church, but God’s offer of redemption is open to everyone. Christ did not die for some, but for all. Christ allows us to be light bringers (I just made that up I think) to the world around. Unfortunately we can choose to keep that light hidden rather than bringing it into the world we live in. Be in serious prayer this month about how you can get involved and how you can get a glimpse of God’s missional heart. Look for ways this month to join His mission. Opportunities are everywhere this time of year and especially now with the economy the way it is. Find a family that is hurting and show them some Christmas love. Buy food for a local food pantry to help feed families during this holiday season. Make a sacrifice of something you don’t need to help someone in need. God’s arms are wide open, are ours?