Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for many, but it’s also one of the busiest. More and more, it seems that if there’s one thing we can observe about the season, it’s that people are on a mission. Starting with the Black Friday doorbuster deals, to the detailed decorating, to the difficulty of finding an even uglier sweater than last year, it’s a holly-jolly and hustle-bustle Christmas.
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Even though the holidays can be hectic, the busyness of Christmas can remind us that we’re on an even greater mission. Christmas is about the mission of God and the commission of Christ. Jesus was sent by the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit to save sinners, and Jesus has sent us to be his witnesses as we share the gospel with sinners.
Beyond the awesome break from school and the long-awaited Christmas presents, we are reminded of Jesus’ presence on earth—how He came from Heaven in the form of a man to save mankind. It’s what we call the incarnation: how God the Son took to himself a human nature. And because of the incarnation, Christ calls us to be incarnational. Jesus was sent so He could send us.
The God Who Came
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
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“Christ came.” That’s the message of Christmas. Through the incarnation, Jesus came into the world as an infant and he grew up within a real and specific time, place, and culture—the world of the first century Jewish culture. As Pastor Greg writes,
Jesus left heaven, lived our life, and died our death. He has walked in your shoes—and then some. He faced physical limitations. He felt real pain. It was actual blood coursing through His veins. Yet He was deity. He was God in human form. Jesus did not become identical to us, but He did become identified with us.
The Messiah was on a mission. The Savior was sent. And the Savior did everything He was sent to do. Jesus is the greatest cross-cultural missionary of all time, having left the glory of heaven to enter our world. He emptied himself and took the form of a servant. “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).
The God Who Sends
“As you sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).
“Go.” That’s another message of Christmas. Just as Christ was sent into the world by the Father, He has sent us into the world for a specific purpose. He not only sends us, but He gives us a clear mission:
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15).
Jesus told His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21), and this applies to us as well. Jesus was sent as the Savior, and we are sent as messengers of the Savior!
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Just as Christ entered into our world to identify with us, we are to enter into the “world” of others—their culture, values, lifestyles, worldview, etc.—to reach them with the gospel as we make disciples of all nations.
Sharing the Christ of Christmas
The message of Christmas is that Christ has come. And his message to those who follow him is “GO!”
During this Christmas season, consider how the Father sent the Son, and how the Son has sent us. Jesus entered our world, lived among us, and died for us. And He sends us to live among others to share about His perfect life, atoning death, and triumphant resurrection. Let’s live in such a way that our lives show we have been sent into the world by the One who was sent to save us!
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May you have a merry—and a missional!—Christmas this year!