Before I get lost and forget to say the most important bit here, Merry Christmas!
As I’m writing this, it’s Christmas Eve (and if you’re reading this tonight, feel free to come join us as we praise God in a special service this evening at 7:30, here at First Covenant). Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and my children are fervently praying for snow tonight.
But I’d encourage you to take a moment and remind yourself one last time about what’s really important about this night. It’s not the presents (there were no presents exchanged by anyone on that first Christmas Eve, and it was still the most Christmas-y of Christmases), and it’s not the snow (there was no snow on that first Christmas Eve, and it was still the most Christmas-y of Christmases), and it’s not the decorations (there were no decorations in the stable on that first Christmas Eve, and it was still the most Christmas-y of Christmases), etc.
What happened on that first Christmas Eve was that God freely gave the whole world the greatest gift that it would ever receive -- a Savior.
Jesus didn’t save us from strife, or from pain, or from cloudy days, or from cancer, or from the headaches that come from holiday travel. He came to save us from the spiritual death that we’d all chosen for ourselves, simply because it so often seems easier for us to live out than God’s abundant life does.
Not everyone around you knows all of that... which is why you now know that, and have been equipped by God to tell them about it.
And not everyone who knows all of that really believes all of that... which is why God tells us that Christianity is more than just a series of precepts and doctrines to be intellectually assented to -- instead, it’s a relationship with a God who loves you.
But not everyone who knows and believes all of that really wants to do anything with all of that... which is why we have both the Holy Spirit within us and one another beside us to send little reminders like this to each other.
You have an opportunity today -- while it’s called “today” -- to make a difference in the world around you. What will you do with that opportunity?