Looking a little bit harder at that nativity scene…


Christmas for Christians

Christmas is for Christians. It’s not only for Christians, but it is for Christians. No doubt, Christmas is an opportunity for churches around our country to share with non-believers the Gospel of our Saviour.

But, in my zeal to tell non-believers about the true meaning of Christmas I sometimes forget that Christmas is a chance for Christians to be stunned and transformed by what our God has done for us in the incarnation.

But that’s not all. Christmas is a gift for talking with our churches about global mission.

Mission in the Middle

Our carol services and Christmas cards are littered with prophecies from the likes of Isaiah announcing the final chapter in redemption history. And sitting in the middle of it all, perhaps sitting right now on your mantel piece, is the birth of global mission.

Nestled in next to the shepherds or maybe the donkey stand the Magi, from the east. These are gentiles, non-Jews. But what’s so special about that? The Bible is full of non-Jews doing all sorts of things.

Doing Something New

There is one thing we don’t catch gentiles doing in the Old Testament that these visitors are resolutely here to do: bowing down in the presence of God and worshipping him. (Matthew 2v11)

Gentiles could have a place in the life of Israel, there were ways in which they could join in their worship of Yahweh. But, it was always at arms-length, always second best.

Now, just feet away from God incarnate these gentiles are able to do the thing which all humans are created to do and all humans from this moment on can do. They worship Yahweh, the covenant making, promise keeping God who proves good on his promise: “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn… to you the riches of the nations will come.” (Isaiah 60v3) They stand close, not at arms-length. They meet with their maker and enjoy his grace in worshipping him.

The start of something…

As we gaze at this scene this Christmas let us marvel in thanks with our churches that ones like many of us- gentiles- are there worshipping Jesus. And let us pray and challenge each other to crowd full that nativity scene, so to speak, with people from more tribes, tongues and nations in worship of our Saviour.

By Phil Tinker