December 15, 2016, Max Lucado captured the heart of the story of Christmas on pastors.com when he wrote:
Perhaps our world, and your life, resembles a Bethlehem stable. Crude in some spots, smelly in others. Not much glamour. Not always neat. People in your circle remind you of stable animals: grazing like sheep, stubborn like donkeys, and that cow in the corner looks a lot like the fellow next door.
The moment Mary touched God’s face is the moment God made his case: There is no place he will not go. If he is willing to be born in a barnyard, then expect him to be at work anywhere: bars, bedrooms, boardrooms, and brothels. No place is too common. No person is too hardened. No distance is too far. There is no person he cannot reach. There is no limit to his love. When Christ was born, so was our hope.
Actually, I think we need Christmas more than ever this year.
We could use a season that is dedicated to giving, not receiving; to caring, not critiquing. Put away our differences. Put up the Christmas tree. Take comfort in the familiar story and the ancient carols. Our world, like that of Bethlehem, is difficult and crowded. Our days can feel as cold and uncertain as that midnight manger. Yet in the midst of it all, let’s do what Mary did. Let’s invite the source of peace to enter our world. Let’s find hope, once more, in the infant King.
God became one of us so we could become one with him. That is the promise of Bethlehem.
Let’s not waste the opportunity this Christmas to invite someone to hear the Christmas story. Many of you will be with family, and that’s important. But let’s go out of our way to ask the neighbor family who doesn’t attend church to sit with us at the Christmas Eve service. It doesn’t have to interfere with your Christmas plans. Perhaps you know someone who is all alone this Christmas. Or an international student who has no place to attend this Christmas. Is there a business associate going through a tough time or someone you are aware of is experiencing a loss this Christmas? Everyone needs to be at a Christmas Eve service at 2:00, 3:30, or 5:00 pm to be reminded of the hope we have in the infant King.
P.S. Are you anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed? Do you feel like your life lacks purpose and meaning? Join me this Sunday at 9:00 and 10:30 as we discover how life can have meaning and purpose all because Jesus came at Christmastime.