Your Mission This Christmas

by Dec 18, 2017

I have loads of good memories about Christmas, sprinkled with a few not too good ones. Each Christmas, you know it’s either going to be really good, or really bad. I don’t remember any neutral Christmases. That big present that you get, it’s either going to be a Nintendo 64, or a sweater. It’s either gonna be an official Red Ryder carbine-action two hundred shot range model air rifle, or a pink rabbit onesie. One Christmas our roof collapsed from the weight of the snow, so I spent the rest of the day on ice planet Hoth repairing a hole. Christmas is gonna be really good or really bad. You’re either going to get through those family Christmas parties with some laughs, or there’s going to be constant tension. You’re either going to get to relax with your time off of work, or it’s going to be constant stress and obligations. Each Christmas is either going to be really good or really bad, and it probably will depend on what your mission is this Christmas. What is your mission this Christmas? To be the best gift-giver? To avoid conflict? To take the family on an epic trip that the kids will remember forever?

What was Jesus’ mission? I mean, he’s the reason we stop each year and celebrate this holiday. What was his mission for being born?

To Bring Our Best Life Now? 
Joseph was betrothed to Mary. That means that for a year, they’d basically be married but they wouldn’t “seal the deal” yet. They’d wait a year so that Mary could prove that she was a virgin and that any child born to her after that would be guaranteed to be Joseph’s. But in Matthew 1:18 we read that in the middle of their betrothal, Mary got pregnant. This is scandal. This is heart-break. This is the end of a marriage. This is…punishable by death. Joseph had the legal rights to shame her to the whole community, and even have her put to death. This would wreck Joseph’s life. I mean, he was engaged to his dream girl, and now there’s this huge scandal. This would wreck Mary’s life. This scandal would be attached to her for the rest of her life, and to her son’s! The coming of Jesus really messed with their external circumstances. Hopefully Jesus had a deeper purpose for being born that to give us our best life now, because when he shows up, our lives usually get tougher, not easier.

To Bring Social, Economic, and Political Peace? 
We get no indication that Jesus comes into this world on a social, economic, or political mission. He brings clarity, truth, and steps toward reform to all of those things, but they weren’t his mission. The Jews really wanted it to be. They really wanted the Messiah to come and overthrow the evil Roman empire and establish a Jewish State. In other words, the Jews had their own mission for the coming of Jesus. I wonder if that is similar to how we approach Christmas? Do we have our own mission for how we celebrate the coming of Jesus each year, when, in fact, Jesus has a totally different mission than what we’ve got?

To Take Care Of Our Greatest Need? 
Joseph ends up wanting to end the relationship, but not publicly shame Mary. So he’s going to break up with her quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph to tell him this: “[Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” This was Jesus’ mission. He came to save his people from their sins. Back in Genesis 3, we learn of mankind’s greatest need. We rebelled against God, sinned, and now are under the curse of death and separation from God forever. That is a massive, massive problem. It’s our greatest problem. And it’s what Jesus came to take care of. And so Joseph stays with Mary. When it would have been much, much easier for him to put her away and distance himself from what God was doing in the world, he pushed in and joined God on the mission to redeem mankind.

You can join God on that mission this Christmas. Make plans now to share the message of Jesus coming to save us from our sins with someone in your life. Yes, make plans. I think a lot of times we don’t plan to share Jesus with people because we want conversations about Jesus to happen organically. We feel like if it’s planned, then it’s not genuine or authentic. So we just wonder around in life, hoping that conversations about Jesus just pop up. But Jesus didn’t wonder into earth. He didn’t bump into taking care of our sin problem. He didn’t wait for us to approach him. He burst into our world and brought healing and life and joy.

Whose life are you planning on bursting into this Christmas to bring healing and life and joy? Who are you planning on sharing Jesus with this Christmas?

You might not have the best Christmas you’ve ever had this year. In fact, it could be the worst. But, Jesus came to forgive you from your sins and take care of your greatest need. Rejoice in that this Christmas.