On behalf of the entire team at the Baptist Ministry Centre I pray that you would have an incredibly blessed Christmas and a fruitful New Year.
Christmas is a time of reflection, celebration and declaration of our Saviour’s incarnation. It allows us space to rest on this most amazing of events and to connect with our communities with a common, culturally significant message.
Christmas also gives us pause to ask the questions “Why is the incarnation of Christ significant?” and “What is my response to it?” I would like to share 3 key areas of significance as they relate to our association of churches.
1 Community – Christ left community with the Father for community with His church. Jesus was born into a family and lived in a community. Christ then established the church, binding it together with a love so strong that He identified it as our badge of membership:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
This Christmas is an appropriate time to reflect on how your church can be a better community of faith. Who do you need to forgive or be forgiven by? How can you show love to those in your church? How can you connect with other churches in your region? The love that Christ gave was all encompassing… is this how we are loving each other?
2 Mission – Christ left heaven to dwell amongst those who hated Him (Philippians 2) to save them (John 3:16f). Christmas is the ultimate reminder that Christ calls us to mission, to go into the entire world with the Gospel of Grace.
How are you responding to this missional call upon your church and your own life? Our response should be “Yes Lord, send me!” Allow Christmas to challenge you and your church to look at the New Year as a time to renew your missional heart and purpose.
3 Justice – Christ brought with him the Kingdom of God, the breaking in of justice, love and mercy for all. Our call is to love our neighbor as ourselves, to love our enemy and to care for the orphan, widowed and vulnerable. These are central to the Christmas story.
Jesus, the asylum seeker with the ostracised and persecuted family, calls us to compassion for those who live these same struggles out today. The parable of the Good Samaritan calls us to act out that compassion for all whom we come across and the apostle Paul shows us that the Christ established church is to be the hands and voice of compassion in the community.
Christmas should again allow us to reflect on how we are living these values out in our life and ministry.
My prayer is that this year would not bring just another Christmas. I pray that it would bring a renewed and refreshed vision of Christ for you and your church family.