The consequence of Christmas
Posted on December 7, 2012 by VMMissions Staff
When I think of consequences my mind first goes a rather negative direction. We call it the fear of consequences and are reminded that we reap what we sow, or are warned, “be sure your sins will find you out.”
This may be due to a particular kind of upbringing that believed that stern warning equals good deterrence, that and a healthy dose of discipline. For some of us, it helped. For others, not so much.
There are, however, good consequences. I recently heard Bill and Lynne Hybels’ daughter Shauna tell of the unconditional love of her parents and how they provided an unwavering beacon through her rebellious years. Her current life and ministry are, in part, a consequence of that love.
I’ve read and heard the testimony of Klementina Shahini, how she first heard the words “God” and “Bible” in 1991 and how those realities changed her life. Lezha Academic Center is, in part, a consequence of the gospel being shared with Klementina.
I am almost daily reminded of the ministry of congregations in their communities and in the world, and resulting consequences. Monthly reports, prayer letters and blogs of VMMissions workers are filled with stories of consequences in the world.
Christmas is the promise and hope of consequences. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. In Jesus, salvation is found and as followers of Jesus we live out our lives in confidence and hope. The fundamental declaration of Christmas is that God did not give up. Jesus was his bail-out plan and we have greater confidence in the consequences, present and ultimate, than any other bail-out plan attempted.
This confidence in the consequence of Christmas is the motivation for what we do and hope to do as we enter a new year.
- We plant new churches, or as we say, “nurture a movement of missional communities.”
- We gather weekly for worship, knowing that our worship both guides and reflects our lives.
- We express confidence that God has not given up even when people’s choices result in incarceration.
- We extend biblical hospitality and welcome to new immigrants in the confusing array of immigration issues.
- We nurture the faith of young people who “hear” through their hands, facial expressions, and gestures.
- We go to the “uttermost parts” to teach school in cultures that have only recently even been allowed to hear the Christmas story.
Like our desire for instant gratification, we need to be warned that immediate consequences are not guaranteed. Ultimate consequences are assured. We pay attention to God’s real story going on all around us, fully expecting that His kingdom is the only one that matters.
May such confidence in the consequence of Christmas inform this season, and this new year.