What one word comes to mind when you think about “Christmas”? For some, they think decorations, presents, lights, carols, family, or presents. The season is rich with tradition, memories, gifts, and symbols.
As I have been preaching through John, one word repeated over and over that made me think about Jesus’ perspective of Christmas. We might think that this word is “gave” – and that would be a good guess! “For God loved the world in this way: that he gave his one and only Son…” (Jn 3:16) is a natural passage that comes to mind.
But the word that came to mind repeatedly comes from Jesus’ mouth:
“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” – Jn. 4:34
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.” – Jn. 5:24
“And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me.” – Jn. 5:37
“This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” – Jn. 6:29
“My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.” – Jn. 7:16
“I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.” – Jn. 8:42
And we could keep going. Over and over, Jesus makes it clear that Christmas is directly connected with his sending. God sent his Son. The manger was about a mission. The Eternal Son was sent from heaven by the Father to earth to accomplish God’s mission of redemption.
If Christmas is about mission, what does that mean for us? This is a season where people do surprising things for others. They leave generous tips. They pay for the person’s coffee in line behind them. They drop off baking and goodies to neighbours. But the most surprising thing ever done for humanity was the Father sending his Son. God became a missionary. Sent from heaven to earth, God’s mission plan was on full display that first Christmas.
Where might God the Father send you this Christmas? What opportunities will open up for you for the mission of God this season? Maybe you’ll be asked to pray at a Christmas dinner. Don’t waste the opportunity with a trite or rote prayer. Plan ahead. Have a thoughtful prayer ready to be prayed.
Maybe you’ll be able to visit someone who is lonely and tell them about the love of Christ as you bless them with your presence, just as God was pleased to bless us with his presence, Immanuel – God with us.
Maybe you’ll be invited over to a neighbour’s home (or have the opportunity to invite them over). Consider how you might invite them to the Christmas Story at the Agriplex or the Christmas Eve service.
Whatever the opportunity, remember that God sent his pre-existent Son into the world on mission. And this Christmas he sends you.
Christmas is about sending. If it’s more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35), you being sent with the message of Christ is a gift to the world around you. So go! Be a blessing to the world in word and deed! Share some extra love and generosity and tell people how generous God has been by sending his Son as the greatest gift of all!