It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Pictures of Christmas trees are posted on Facebook, mail boxes are getting filled with Christmas cards, the stores are packed with shoppers looking for the perfect gift, and at night the streets glow with twinkling lights. It's that time of year, along with the hustle and bustle, we remember the greatest gift ever given. The gift of life.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
What love! I am not sure we will ever comprehend this love that God has for us. God loves us. Because He loves, He gives.
He saw us . . . people. People who get lost.
We get lost because we stop looking up. We get lost because we start following the wrong people. We get lost because we make choices that we think will make us happy, but in reality digs the ditches we can't seem to get out of. We get lost because we go through rainy emotional traumas that hinder us from seeing the path He laid out and we end up on a dead end street. We get lost . . . and yet, He still loves. He saw us, He sees us, and yet He still desires to give us life.
God is life. He is the source and the sustainer of life. And He saw us, and continues to see that we need life, life that is impossible to have apart from Him.
Because He loves, He gives.
And He gave His life, His one and only son, so that we might live.
So, here we are. It's Christmas. The Season of giving. And I am humbly reminded this morning that because God gives because God loves, I am to give because I love.
Every 7 years something unique happens. Christmas day falls on a Sunday.
Here we are December 2011. Christmas day again, falls on a Sunday. Several churches will be closing their doors that morning, and to me that is a beautiful thing.
Very few churches have a balance between being an attractional church and a missional church. Unfortunately, I find most churches lean to the side of being an attractional church. It's not a bad thing, Christ calls us to "Come and see" and it should be an important element of the church. But I fear it can lead to spiritual obesity. It becomes comfortable for us to come and get fed, and to come back and get fed, and to come again and get fed and so forth. But every 7 years most churches, whether it is in their make-up or not have the opportunity to step up and be a missional church-- to "Go and Tell."
The church building doors will be closed for many this Christmas morning. And it's okay, because the building is just a tool that in the hands of God can do miraculous things. But it is the people who make up the church, and the church will NOT be sleeping or taking the day off this Christmas morning. Jesus didn't invite people to a church service but into a life of service. And this Christmas, we get the chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus outside the 4 walls. This Christmas we can leave the 99 who we would sit beside inside the building and go find the 1 who would not be there yet.
This Christmas I am challenged and share that challenge with you to be the church. To be the hands and feet of Christ.
There are countless things we can do . . . take balloons to the patients who can't leave the hospital for Christmas this year, make brownies and pass them out to the foreign students stuck on campus spending the holidays alone, when you get your $5 coffee at Starbucks on the way out of town to visit your family, leave a $20 tip because someone had to work Christmas day just to put food in their children's belly, grab the extra coat in the back of your closet and give it to the homeless man on the street corner, when you take back the tacky sweater that Aunt Ruth got you, purchase as many socks as you can verse another sweater you don't need and donate them to the sock drive, or go next door to the neighbor you know will be sitting alone Christmas day and bring them into your family's crazy . . . the options are endless.
And the awesome thing, when you give His love, you get His love in return.
So this Christmas let's Go and Tell, let's be missional, let's be the hands and feet, and let's love on the people of Powhatan, the people of Chesterfield, the people of Richmond like they have never been loved on before.