Last year Bob and I were in the Holy Land, and even under stringent COVID restrictions were able to share the love of Jesus with those we met. This year is different – we are in the States due to Bob’s current medical needs. Despite our being here for Christmas, our task remains the same – to share the love of Jesus with those we meet. Ephesians 3:6-7 (NLT) reminds us of this...

And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. (Eph. 3:6-7, NLT).

So, is this a different kind of Christmas? Not when you understand that Christmas is not about where or with whom you celebrate, but about the One whose birth is celebrated!

One thing remains constant about Christmas every year – the words, “For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord!” Christ was born for everyone! We all know people who feel that God could never love them because they are too messed up, their sins are too big, they are too broken, too ashamed. But the Bible repeatedly says that He welcomes everyone who comes to Him. All can come as they are – bringing burdens, shame, tears, fears, doubts, sins, brokenness, even a dried-up spirit. Jesus welcomes everyone with open arms! He never belittled, shamed, or degraded people – especially those who were messed up! Jesus spent much of His time in His brief ministry with the downtrodden. They were accepted, worthy, forgiven, and loved by Him – and they knew it!

My friends, God has commissioned us to share the message of His Son with the world. We are “sent” by Him. In an Advent devotion Bob and I read today (written by Rev. Jay Winters of University Lutheran Church in Tallahassee, FL) we were reminded that “sometimes it isn’t as helpful to think of yourself as being sent someplace as it is to think of yourself as having arrived already. Christ HAS sent you. He has sent you to the place that you are now. You have arrived in your mission field, perhaps not permanently, but if you are in a place and time – God has sent you to that place. Now, look around. Really look around. Who has He placed you around? In what circumstance has He placed you? He has caused you to come to this place for such a time as this. He has created you for this, He has redeemed you by the blood of His Son for this, He has sanctified you by His Spirit for this. Go now…live out your sent-ness in the place where God has placed you.”

In the place you are now, wherever that may be, there are people who desperately need to know the Good News! I pray that you are open to letting the love of the Lord shine through you to those around you, and that you make the most of every opportunity God gives you. Your words and/or your actions might be just the thing that makes someone stop and think about God and just how much He loves them. God wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. He is hoping that the simple message of His love will be shared by you in the very place to which He has sent you!

Merry CHRISTmas (and Happy New Year)!

Kristi Roegner is an Apple of His Eye Bible Teacher to Israel

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