The One Thing You Can’t Miss this Christmas
Understanding Christmas’ daring, extraordinary and audacious claim
This blog is adapted from our free ebook, ‘Stewarding Christmas’. Download it for free here or at kingdomlifepublishing.com.
There is a stunning, shocking and even earth-shaking truth that lies buried amidst the superficial trappings of our increasingly secularized Christmas celebrations. As long as this truth remains hidden, most people of little or no faith can stomach the mention of baby Jesus, Bethlehem and angelic choirs long enough to get through the holiday. Even for the majority of Christians, this truth may never see the light of day.
Yet it’s there, like a volcanic eruption waiting to explode from under a quiet blanket of soft mountain snow. The question for us as stewards of the grace of God is, will we let this truth burst forth in all we say and do, dominating our preparations and celebrations in ways unmistakable to everyone around us?
Here is the radical, audacious truth: the Incarnation is the single most important event in the history of the human race! Audacious? Yes, but we can say even more. God’s action toward us through the Incarnation impacts every life of every person who ever lived and ever to live on the face of the earth. Extraordinary? Absolutely. Want more? In the Incarnation, the identity of every person that has lived, is living or ever will ever live was fundamentally and inexorably changed.
Can you feel the ground moving? This is earth-shaking stuff. It couldn’t be more radical in both its claim and its consequences. Yet this is the heart of the Christmas story. The word ‘incarnation’ may sound lofty and theological, but it defines the deepest expression of humility, love and mercy. It is a powerful and grace-filled word. If we are to steward Christmas we must not miss its significance.
Here is a short definition of ‘incarnation’ – God took on Himself everything that separated us from Him in order to destroy it and save us for Himself. And that means all of us, everyone! Paul writes,
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.” (Colossians 2:9)
When God became one of us in the Bethlehem manger, a great exchange took place. Paul writes,
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
When God takes on our sin through this amazing cosmic act of love and grace the doors to His throne room are thrown wide open.
“[Jesus] has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)
What act in human history could be greater than the selfless, loving movement of God toward us by becoming one with us in order to save us from destruction? What greater act of love could be performed for us than the humble descent of the Creator of the universe into a newborn’s swaddle and dependence of a baby in a barn? What could be more awesome than the extraordinary act of love that united humanity with divinity and set the stage for the miracles, cross, resurrection and, ultimately, the victory of the final coming of Jesus Christ?
This Christmas I encourage you to set aside all that would distract you from the wonder and joy of this cosmic reality. It’s time to refuse to be taken in by the silly things that drive us this season and journey instead over the coming weeks as a steward who embraces the wonder and joy of this simple name – Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’. Let me suggest seven ways to steward Christmas in this awe-some way:
- Name Your Distractions – when you know what they are God can help you overcome them.
- Confront Your Doubts – pray away the nagging voice of the enemy and replace it with the assurances and promises of God.
- Release Your Fears – lay everything at the manger and rise up to embrace Christmas with victory and freedom.
- Relinquish Your Pride – make Christmas about God’s gift and set aside every temptation to let pride grab the spotlight.
- Revisit the Nativity – stand afresh at the manger, look into the eyes of the humble King who came knowing the cross was his future…all for you!
- Claim Your Freedom – in Jesus’ name claim the freedom Christ won for you, freedom from the stress, anxiety and fears of the owner.
- Know His Peace – if you will seek after Jesus with all your heart, your newfound freedom will well up in the peace we always sing about, “Peace on earth good will to men, Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Once a year the entire planet stops to celebrate, honor, remember and worship that one amazing act of love we call the Incarnation. For that reason alone, Christmas should be the highest and holiest day of the year for all of us who follow Jesus. When we allow the Holy Spirit to overwhelm us with the wonder of the Incarnation, we are prepared to love, and steward, Christmas. May that joy welling up in you be God’s greatest gift to you, and your present through love and service to everyone you meet this Christmas season.
Prayer Requests for the Center for Steward Leader Studies:
- Wisdom for choosing the right opportunities as we move into 2018
- Funding for our China Initiative
- Praise to God for His daily encouragement through friends, board and partners