Is Christmas about the birth of Jesus, the world, the church or you? It may surprise you, but the answer is all of the above. None of these reasons for Christmas are to be eliminated, though the order in which we list them matters. In fact, the placement of our focus on Christ, others, our Christian community or ourselves now and all year determines how effective we will be for the kingdom of God.
Christmas is God's kingdom come; His "will be done on earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 610b). It is first and foremost about the babe in the manger who surrendered Himself to the extravagant purpose of God's will. He is to be our primary focus at all times. Jesus made this clear when He taught that the greatest commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Luke 10:27b).
With our gaze fixed on Him as we celebrate the incarnation, we rejoice that Jesus came to radically reveal God's power to change our character when we surrender. When we surrender ourselves to God's supernatural purpose, we are transformed:
- Christmas is birthing of the message of the kingdom of God in us.
- Christmas is birthing the image of God in us.
- Christmas is birthing the momentum of the Holy Spirit in us.
- Christmas is birthing the potential of new life in us.
- Christmas is the birthing of a family that ministers to God, to the world, and one another.
But all of this grace is not merely for our personal benefit. Though we find the reason for our own individual purpose in experiencing His extravagant love, generosity, and power, the primary result of all of this birthing is a heart change that leads us to die to self. When this happens, He releases His kingdom character in us as salt and light to the world. Then we as the church and body of Christ find our purpose corporately in helping others to experience God's extravagant love, generosity and power.
We are blessed, yes, but for others' benefit even more than our own. When we die to self, Christ is glorified, and the world is drawn to Him. This double blessing that comes from our personal experience with Christ, coupled with walking out His purpose for us in His kingdom, is the abundant life Christ talked about (John 10:10).
In America, I believe we have become so focused on the development of our intellectual abilities that we have failed to focus on developing our inward character. Christians have hidden our light under the proverbial bushel, so to speak, instead of allowing the power of God to flow from His Spirit, through us and outward to a hungry world desperate for the Savior. What the world needs is a mighty move of God now, and because of Immanuel, we have the privilege of participating in and being conduits of that great grace. It is also our mandate as believers charged with fulfilling the Great Commission.
This Christmas, may the character of God be revealed in us as we glorify the precious Child of God who was born in the manger.
Go to Mikelfrench.org for more information on how you can be a blessing to others this Christmas.
You are beautiful. I see Jesus in You!
Have an awesome Christmas!
Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the Book of Hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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