Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and friends,
Steve here…Christmas is a week away, and our churches, families and bank accounts have taken notice; however, our community’s response may be less than joyful.
George Bernard Shaw once said of Christmas:
“I am sorry to have to introduce the subject of Christmas. It is an indecent subject; a cruel, gluttonous subject; a drunken disorderly subject. Christmas is forced on a reluctant and disgusted nation by the shopkeepers and the press. On its own merits, it would wither away.”
Today, many in our country may sing or hum familiar Christmas carols, but few will use these songs to praise our Saviour—not so for Simeon. There are a lot of praise songs in Scripture; one hymn of praise was called “Nunc Dimittis” by the early church. Luke 2:29-32 is a Christmas praise song that celebrates the birth of Christ. Simeon holds Jesus in his arms and declares loudly, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people.” Luke 2:30-31.
“In the sight of all people.” People may respond like the Shepherds, with great curiosity and interest; or like Herod, with anger and blatant disregard; or like the Innkeeper, with casual observance and concern. The later seems to be the attitude of the majority these days. Many have forgotten the real reason for the season.
Journalist C.E. Smith wrote in his newspaper, The San Jose Mercury News, the story of a wealthy European family many years ago who christened their new baby. The celebration was hosted in their mansion. The guests arrived in the latest fashionable wraps and coats, which were carried to one of the many bedrooms of the mansion and piled on a bed. The christening ceremony was to begin, and so the nurse was sent to fetch the baby. She returned distressed, announcing that the baby was nowhere to be found. After several minutes search, the baby was found under the wraps and coats of the guests, smothered to death. The primary reason they had come to the mansion had been forgotten, even destroyed.
This Christmas, many of our neighbours will forget, neglect, or even destroy the true significance of this festive season. It reminds me of the words of Luke 2:7: “There was no room for them in the inn.” Will there be room in the hearts of our loved ones, friends and neighbours for Jesus this Christmas? They need a friendly reminder—because salvation is still the best gift anyone can receive this Christmas.
Have a blessed week,
Our 2014 Fellowship theme verse is:
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)