Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas is Not Your Birthday

This is the time of year when everyone is looking forward to what they’ll be getting under the tree on Christmas morning. So we were wondering, how would Jesus answer if we were to ask him, “What do you want for Christmas?”

Perhaps Jesus would direct us to the song that his mother Mary sang shortly after discovering she was pregnant (Luke 1:46-56). In this song, we find that Mary anticipates that the coming of Jesus will challenge the social order as we know it: Rulers will be brought down while the humble are uplifted and the hungry will be filled while the rich are sent away empty.

It is precisely these earth shaking kinds of social changes that we are committed to bring about as American Baptist missionaries. By ministering to the needs of Haitian migrants in the Bahamas, we are attempting—at least in a small way—to proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ birth in both word and deed. So when Jesus looks under the tree on Christmas morning, he won’t be getting a new stereo, the latest video games, or even that fancy new electric can opener that doubles as a camera—at least not from us! But he will be getting the best gift of all: Our commitment to serve him and join him on his mission to transform the world.

But too often we don’t think about what Jesus wants for Christmas. We just think about what we want. But Christmas is not our birthday; it’s Jesus’ birthday. So we hope that you will take some time this advent season to remember whose birthday it really is and, more importantly, to reflect on ways that you and your church can truly celebrate the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

This post originally appeared in News from Daniel and Estela Schweissing on 11 December 2006.

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