First, my family and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. God has blessed us richly with such wonderful family and friends. We look forward to spending time with many of you during the next few weeks.
In many ways, this has been an upside down Christmas so far. Since I left my position at Dogwood Church on December 5th, I have been without a regular daily routine and without a weekly worship service to plan and lead. I have to admit that, in some aspects, it has been nice, however, on Christmas Eve, it was a little depressing for me to be an observer instead of the leader of a Christmas Eve service.
The family and I attended a Christmas Eve service at a nearby church and during the service, I was struck with a thought. We, in local church ministry, have Christmas upside down. We often spend lots of money making the auditorium or sanctuary look beautiful, we spend lots of time programming the service complete with music, multimedia, drama and a compelling Christmas message. In short, we put on a huge show in the name of celebrating the birth of Christ–not that there’s anything wrong with that (to borrow a line from Seinfeld).
The funny thing is that when Jesus was born, it was anything but a show. The shepherds who happened to be the outcast of society were the only ones who got a show from the heavenly host and it scared the fire out of them! The stinky stable with its incarnational events unfolding inside was anything but a show and those in attendance probably didn’t leave commenting about what a great experience they had–the sights, the sounds, the message, etc. They left in wonder and amazement at having been in the presence of the King of Kings.
During this Christmas season, I challenge you to remember that, yes, we are celebrating Christ’s birth. But more than that, we are celebrating the fact that God Himself left heaven and put on our damaged and weak skin in order to demonstrate His love for us. If He did this for us, how can we possibly refuse to leave our “heavenly realm”–our Christian protective bubble to put ourselves in the dark and damaged world of those who are still walking in darkness. It is only when Christians decide to live like Jesus and to lead others to do the same that we will find fulfillment and purpose in our identity as Christ followers. That is what God has called us to do and that is what we intend to accomplish through browns mill church.