Peace on earth. Good will toward men.
Most Christians were raised hearing the Christmas story and singing all the great songs that bring comfort and joy to us In this season. And they should. I love Christmas and the celebration of the birth of our Savior and Lord.
However, lately I’ve been asking myself this question; If Jesus were alive today and could address all believers everywhere on how he’d like us to celebrate his birthday, what would he tell us? (I realize it’s a dangerous business to put words in Jesus’ mouth. So, while I will quote scripture to make my point, I could be wrong!)
Jesus came to earth not just to die for our sins, but to teach us in the clearest possible way, about the present and future kingdom of God – how we can enter it, how we are to live our lives in it and what the future kingdom will be like. “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That‘s what Jesus says the Father wants- His will to be done on earth. And Jesus wants what the Father wants. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say what Jesus wants most for his birthday is for us to do the will of God. Just what is that? Well, it differs for every believer, but this much I know to be true. We are to be Jesus’ surrogates in this life doing the will of the Father.
The Christmas Trap is this; we can get so caught up celebrating Christmas, sing great music and giving gifts to each other we can easily lose sight of what Jesus expects of us- every born again believer.
“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’” Revelation 5:9, 10
Jesus purchased men for God! We are Jesus “Christmas” gifts to the Father to serve as his priests here on earth! That‘s the true meaning of Christmas. Not only God with us, but God in us! Jesus birth simply set in motion a plan from all eternity to populate earth and heaven with the adopted children of God and priests of God. The Beatitudes beginning with Matthew 5 is a rough job description for all of us. So, how might that work as you gather with family and friends this Christmas? Let’s think about the practical application of just these two verses.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God.” Matt. 5:9
“If you do not forgive others their sins, neither will your Father forgive your sins.” Matt. 6:15
As a priest of God this Christmas, you’ll be representing him to your family and friends. Meditate on what it means to both forgive others and be a peacemaker for the next few weeks. I think it means at least three things:
Pray for peace in the world and in your world – your family and friends.
2. Begin praying for anyone in your family who you’ve not yet forgiven and go to them or write them and try to heal those wounds as best you can.
3. Bring peace to your family by being forgiving, kind, thoughtful and spiritual. Your first and most important allegiance is to the kingdom, not to a political party, a medical opinion or social cause. Be intentional about making that clear in all your conversations. Everything else is a distant second to the kingdom.
4. Pray for wisdom and be prepared to step into a contentious situation with grace, if it’s required. Be the peacemaker even if others start it. You probably have a fairly good idea who in your family or friends are most likely to give, or take offense. Either speak to them ahead of time, or pray for a course of action if needed to bring peace to the room. Be prepared.
I read this humorous, almost true quote just before Thanksgiving. “Talk politics this Thanksgiving with your family. It will save you money this Christmas!”
Peacemakers will be called the children of God. And you will have you family long after the last face mask is worn, or the next election is held. Play the long game. God does.