Know of anyone who’s not good at receiving? They won’t ever let you pay, or maybe they’re not very comfortable receiving compliments or gifts. Humankind as a whole is somewhat like that. That’s why over the centuries whenever we decide to create a religion, we always include a common tenet: You must make up for all the bad things you’ve done, or else.
Every major faith system has this component–Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, Buddhism, Jehovah’s Witness-ism–without exception, they demand that humans work off their “debt.” Why? I think it’s because paying our own way, so to speak, puts us in control, something we dearly cherish.
One of the things (only one of the many) that reaffirms to me that Christianity is God-made rather than Human-made is the fact that it contradicts the pay-your-own-way model. Only the One, True God would have come up with something as radical as grace–it would never have entered the human mind, as these other religions reveal. Only God Himself–the God who is Love, who is Justice, and who is Mercy–could have thought up the incarnation; God becoming human for the sake of taking our sin upon himself. It’s such amazingly good news, such a gift!
How will you share this good news? Don’t forget, it’s part of the reason you’re still on earth and haven’t been zapped up to heaven. Here are some simple, brief ideas:
• Invite someone to our Christmas Eve gatherings at 4:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.
• Share your Christmas meal or some family time with someone who doesn’t have a family.
• Personally give a gift to someone who you know needs some help.
• Give generously to the First Gift offering to invest in taking the good news worldwide.
• Forgive someone, affirm someone, or start a new relationship for the sake of the good news of Jesus.
• Ask permission to tell a friend or family member your faith story and the difference Jesus has made in your life.
You’re not responsible for the results, but together, let’s commit to make the most of the opportunities we have this Christmas. See you Sunday!