I have been thinking a lot about Christmas this year. Perhaps I am looking deeper because I am far away from family and life long friends. Perhaps not being able to attend traditional events and enjoying the family traditions up close and personal makes me look deeper. It could also be a change in perspective since becoming a missionary.
I choose D...all the above!
A tradition our family has each Christmas is sharing our favorite part of the Christmas story. We are all speakers, teachers or preachers (in some cases...all three!) We try to find something "new" each year to share with each other. This makes our Christmas celebration a bit lengthy, but it's worth it! As I have looked at the Christmas story this year, it would seem that I have been a missionary long enough now to see the story through missionary eyes.
It has amazed me to SEE missions all through the Christmas story! I read recently that Jesus was an immigrant before he was a Nazarene. Wow...think about that...the trip to Egypt to save his life was a very short time after his birth. I think about the Wise men (however many there were) who had enough curiosity in them to follow a star. In missionary terms they were "voluntary comers" who, to satisfy their curiosity packed up and started traveling. They were not believers when they started their trip...but...when they came into the presence of the Son of God several months later they immediately bowed down and worshiped him! People from another land, perhaps language and most certainly worshipers of other gods, bowed down and worshiped Jesus! In a moment, in the presence of Jesus, they shifted their allegiance from all they had known to a new profound knowledge of the King of Kings! This is missions! One more thought on this...these "changed" wise men took their new beliefs back to their country, spreading the "good news" to another part of the world. Isn't it amazing how God gets the truth around the world!
I do not look at the Christmas story simply as a "warm and fuzzy" Jesus lying in a manger story. So much about the Christmas story was not warm and fuzzy. There was harsh travel, scary accommodations for giving birth, crowds of people, odious smells, rough shepherds and the threat of death, to list a few.
Christmas today is not "warm and fuzzy" for many people. Loss is amplified at Christmas. Loss of family, friends, work, health and perhaps even faith. Lack rather than abundance is the reality of many around the world at Christmas. There are also those who "have it all" but don't have Jesus.
Let's help people from all walks of life this Christmas enter into the presence of Jesus. We know that when someone has a genuine encounter with Jesus, other allegiances will be tossed aside to worship the King of Kings!