In the beginning stages of our house renovations, our neighbours were very curious about who we are and what our plans are for this home. A young man, a few doors down, took a significant interest in us and our renovation project. On one occasion he and his friend shared a meal with Agnes and I and some of our friends. Before we ate, Jonathan, a close friend of mine, prayed for the meal and included a ‘thank you’ to God for these two men who had joined our renovation crew. Right in the middle of the prayer, one of the men exclaimed, “Hey, we just got a shout-out to God!” It was a great moment and a powerful reminder of the fact that followers of Jesus are on mission, everywhere, all the time. Even during a renovation project, the Holy Spirit was creating opportunities for us to give a shout-out to Jesus on behalf of others.
Christmas is that moment in history when all of creation was stunned by the revelation of God becoming a man in order to redeem for His own possession one people made up of all the peoples of the earth. One of the most significant moments in the Christmas narrative that does not get a lot of attention is the visit Joseph receives from an angel of the Lord. Matthew describes it like this, “…Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:18-21).
I try to put myself in the place of Joseph and imagine how overwhelmed and utterly astonished he must have been. He will raise the one who “will save his people from their sins.” This description of Jesus forever links Christmas and God’s mission together. Christmas is a call to all God’s people to give a shout-out to Jesus on behalf of the nations of the world.
One of the amazing opportunities God has presented me with is a deep connection with one of my new neighbours. We very quickly moved past conversations about the weather and started to talk about the deeper issues of the soul. He shared with me how, in January, his youngest son committed suicide. He has been overwhelmed with grief and guilt. In that raw moment I shared how Jesus had entered my most painful and dark moments to bring healing and hope. I prayed over him asking Jesus to meet him in the place of his deepest sorrow to bring comfort and release. Over the past few weeks, he has been coming to our church gatherings and recently shared with me that, for the first time in months, he feels peace.
This is the heart of Christmas. It is about being on mission. It is about bringing Jesus into our everyday conversations and engaging people who are disillusioned, fractured, and lost. The babe in the manger was God on mission, sent to save his people from their sins. During all your Christmas celebrations may you experience a fresh call into the mission of Jesus—among the nations of the world, your friends, your neighbours, your colleagues, or fellow students. It is time to give a shout-out to Jesus!Download the PDF’s: English | French | Chinese