Way back in the spring, a friend of a friend asked me to speak about missions at her small church in December. It made me chuckle. I mean, it’s not like I’m a celebrity that I have to be booked so far in advance. But I also wondered if there might be a better month. With hundreds of other special events competing for our weekends during the advent season, perhaps they would consider October or even November.
However, as I started to work on the talk (which I have to admit was just a few weeks ago even with eight months warning), I decided that Christmas is the perfect season to think about missions.
Christmas really is all about missions. God entered humanity – a radically different culture than heaven – with a purpose. God the Son came to win us to Himself.
He arrived humbly as a baby dependent upon the very people He created. International missionaries are immediately humbled by learning a new language and can’t even do the simplest tasks – like buying food – without help.
At Christmastime, we like to picture Jesus as a sweet baby. We gloss over the mission that baby was born to fulfill. There’s only one reason He came. He came to die.
Jesus proclaimed His single-focus mission in Luke 19:10. He came to seek and to save the lost. The amazing thing is that He had the audacity to pass that mission on to us. Sinful, frail us. “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21).
He not only endows our lives with purpose and meaning, but He goes further to enable us to do the very thing He calls us to do. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (I Thess 5:24). He’s the one who will bring it to pass. We just show up.
Writing a book taught me the necessity of a universal truth that relates to everyone. Frankly, many people couldn’t care less about me or my life. That’s OK because it’s not about me. ALL of us have a mission and a purpose. Stay-at-home moms, farmers, the elderly, kids. God can use anyone of us to do whatever, whenever, wherever.
When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would bear a child, he told her that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant in her old age. He said, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37).
Sunday morning, I simply told two stories of impossibilities I’ve witnessed that only God could do. One happened in 1989 when He shattered the doors of bronze and cut through the iron bars holding the people of Eastern Europe prisoner.
The other story was the impossible He did in my life. I told about my first full day in Romania, begging Him for the grace and strength I knew I’d need every single day to survive, and how He spoke to my heart through some purple flowers. If He could use me, someone who doesn’t even like camping and feared my new rustic lifestyle, then He can use anyone.
The purpose of Christmas lives on in us. We proclaim the glad tidings of great joy to all the people we meet.