Article Dec 9, 2015

Happy holidays, open doors and the gospel

What transforms the holidays into "happy" moments? Beneath the good food, parties, and presents, every heart craves the warmth and security that comes from being with loved ones in a haven of plenty. You need look no further than the Christmas classics to see it's true.

Consider It's A Wonderful Life. Why do people flock to watch this movie every holiday season? It's because George Bailey's family and friends provide for him in his dire need, rescuing him from his impoverished, suicidal state. As his "angel" Clarence says, "No man is a failure who has friends."

Love. Security. Togetherness. Plenty.

What about A Christmas Carol and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge? The supernatural visitation by Jacob Marley and the three ghosts transforms this hard-hearted businessman into a joyful and benevolent man. He repents from his life of greed-filled isolation to reunite with his own family. He provides lavish gifts for the poor, and he even treats Tiny Tim as his own son. The result is a closer-knit community.

Love. Security. Togetherness. Plenty.

We love stories with these themes because in the end true life promises these very things in Christ. The good news of the holiday season isn't ultimately found in sweet, fictional classics that comfort us for a few hours. The grand story of Christmas is that Immanuel came to bring a people to himself and to give them a place free from sin to exult in his all-satisfying love! Before Christ we were "children of wrath" whose only hope of "belonging" was to the prince of darkness (Eph. 2:3). Isolation, rejection, and spiritual poverty were our destiny. We deserved nothing less.

But our gracious God sent his Son to die for us, his enemies, so we might be adopted into his family. As Scripture so beautifully proclaims,

Those who were not my people I will call "my people," and her who was not beloved I will called "beloved." And in the very place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," there they will be called "sons of the living God" (Rom. 9:25–26).

The Father, Son, and Spirit could have locked arms and enjoyed sweet communion together—alone. But our God extended His hand of grace into this inhospitable world to give us His name and an eternal kingdom. One day we will know endless rest free from sin, tears, and pain (Rev. 21:23).

Eternal love. Eternal security. Eternal togetherness. Eternal plenty.

But we aren't there yet. Our hearts often ache to be with our Father in this promised, eternal home. And for some people that longing is felt even more during the holidays. This season provides a unique opportunity for us to proclaim the goodness of the gospel to others who have little earthly community. Perhaps this Christmas the Lord wants you to unlock the arms of your family and share your rich fellowship with another.

This may include welcoming an unsaved family member into your home or coming around a loved one who is enduring a deep trial. Or the Lord may lead you to embrace someone who isn't a relative and say, "You're one of us." You may sacrifice time alone with your family. But in the process you'll gain Spirit-filled joy as you proclaim that the God of the universe gave up his own comfort and his own Son to make us who were his enemies his own. And that is the message of Christmas!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

2019 Evangelicals for Life