Missiological reflections on Christmas

At the first Christmas, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” John 1:14 (ESV).  The Son of God is described as the Word, the means of communication.  Our God is a talking God. In fact, he is the first user of language. On the first day of creation “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” Genesis 1:3 (ESV).  Throughout the Old Testament, we find God speaking to His people.   That emphasis on speaking is no less evident in The Christmas story.  Christmas music, Christmas sermons, and Christmas cards all emphasize that message is central to the mission of God. The angels brought to the shepherds “good news of a great joy that will be for all the people” Luke 2:10 (ESV).

Jesus is central to the message and mission of God. The Old Testament is full of prophecies that point to him. (see; Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Messiah in the Old Testament, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.) The New Testament testifies that in these last days God “…has spoken to us by his son…” (Hebrews 1:2 ESV). Paul writes to Timothy, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV), and “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5,6 ESV).

Christmas is part of a bigger story that includes creation, the fall of mankind, the call of Abraham, the history of Israel, and Christ’s birth-life-death-resurrection-return. We find ourselves between his resurrection and return with a command to be his witnesses. Our business is to live and declare the grand narrative of the universe. No wonder the Puritans called the gospel ministry ‘the Great Work’! “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5,6 ESV).

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