Merry Christmas!! Here is a very brief snippet of the message I shared at our Arabic-language Christmas Outreach. The refrain (“love is like that”) is taken from a wonderful old sermon by Enos Dowling, one of the founding fathers of LCCS, where I went to seminary.
This is the story of what love looks like. The story of Christmas begins with a man and woman engaged to married: Joseph & Mary. They were simple people: they were not priests, or kings, or prophets… but they believed God’s promise to make the world right. They believed God. They believe that what God said would actually come to pass. And this was enough. Remember: God does not ask for more than faith.
An angel visits Mary. He tells her that she will give birth to a Son… and His name will be Jesus. His name means “God is salvation” – God saves! LOVE IS LIKE THAT. GOD’S LOVE SEEKS TO SAVES US.
Jesus is born, but in a very humble place: a barn. Mary and Joseph had been traveling to Bethlehem. When they arrived, there was no place to stay. The town was full of other travels… and so Jesus was born in a barn? Really? Sometimes God’s ways, God’s work, even God’s love will take us by surprise.
Soon after this, an angel appears to some shepherds outside of town and announces the coming of a savior:
“The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
Did you hear that? Good news of great joy for all people. Jesus did not come just for Americans or just for Egyptians, just for Greeks, or Iraqis. Jesus did not come just for “Christians” or any other religion. Jesus is the savior for all people… all people who will call upon Him in faith. LOVE IS LIKE THAT! GOD’S LOVE REACHES OUT FOR ALL PEOPLE, IN ALL PLACES.
Soon, Herod, who was the king over this region, hears the rumors of a new king… a baby. So, Herod (frightened that he might lose power) orders that all babies 2 years old and under be killed in the Bethlehem.
This is the story of a family that fled their country, and left their home, because God, in His love, had even greater things prepared for them. So, Mary and Joseph take Jesus and flee to Egypt… beyond the reach of the evil king Herod. LOVE IS LIKE THAT. GOD’S LOVE PROTECTS AND PROVIDES. GOD’S LOVE PLANS AND PREPARES!
This brings me back to my original question: Why does God have you here tonight? Maybe, through all the difficulty of leaving your country and home, God has a plan in bringing you here. In fact, I believe that He does. I believe that He wants you to know one thing tonight… not one thing, one person: Jesus // God saves!
That’s what it says in the Gospel –
For God so loved the world that He gave Jesus… that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God does not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
LOVE IS LIKE THAT.