Shining the Light this Christmas
HOLT, MI – I have a confession to make. I love the Christmas season. All of it. The decorations and lights, the songs and carols, the festive sweaters and parties, the trees and gifts. Most of all, I love setting aside time each year to slow down and focus on the true reason for the season: the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a truth worth celebrating that our God has come to us. Oh, what wonder and glory! The Son stepped out of heaven, took on flesh, and walked on this earth so that He could die to save sinful rebels, like you and me.
There is something about the Christmas season that softens the hearts of people to this truth.
Yet, while the truth of Christ’s first coming reverberates through our celebrations, many people will miss it. Yes, the light has come, but they dwell in deep darkness (Isaiah 9:2). In that darkness sit the weary souls of neighbors, coworkers, classmates, friends, and family members burdened by sin and the cares of the world. These are not faceless strangers, they are people we know and love. This Christmas they will seek relief from the darkness in parties and sales, in neatly wrapped gifts, and overflowing stockings, in twinkling lights, and Hallmark movies. While these things offer temporary hope and joy, they are like flares that burn brightly for a moment, but quickly fade away. As Christians we offer what they really need: Jesus, the True Light, who has come into the world (John 1:9).
Our church is doing several things to leverage this Christmas season for the sake of the gospel. We will deck our halls and make the building merry and bright. I’ll be preaching an Advent series that highlights God’s great plan, and promises to save His people through sending His Son Jesus. Over the past year, several of our members have led an effort to reach out to the neighborhood around our building. We began with an invitation to our Easter celebration and now will carol and invite our neighbors to join us on Christmas Eve. I am also encouraging each person in our church to pray for one person they can invite to our Christmas Eve service. We don’t have all the answers, and this certainly isn’t the only way to do things, but we want to do all we can to point others to Jesus this holiday season.
Let me encourage you to consider ways you and your church can make the most of this Christmas season. As the world around us tunes in to the message we celebrate all year, how can we tap into that? Let’s be bold and creative as we seek to punch holes in the darkness. Let’s not forget that we were once darkness before the light of Jesus shone in our hearts (Ephesians 5:8-14). With all the hope and joy of the shepherds on the night of our Lord’s birth, let’s take the message of Jesus far and wide. “Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you,” (Isaiah 60:1).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matt Carter serves as the Lead Pastor of Cedar Street Church in Holt. Prior to coming to Cedar Street, he served in various roles at several churches in North Carolina. He holds and MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Matt and His wife Anna have four kids and two marginally tolerable dogs.