Are you ready for Christmas? There’s a lot to do this Christmas. Did you purchase the ham? Have you double-checked to make sure you didn’t forget to buy a gift. Wrapped all the presents? By the way, since this is a covid Christmas, don’t forget to put a bow on your favorite brand of hand sanitizer. Every Christmas requires a lot of work. I would like to encourage you not to forget the most critical work, the “work of the evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5). This Christmas, make sure you include the Great Commission in your Holiday.
Let’s recall and learn from this small portion of the Christmas story (Luke 2:8-15 CSB):
“In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors!,,
When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), Lk 2:8–15.
The Gospel is a message for all people.
I love the fact that it was the Shepherds who first heard about the birth of Jesus. The shepherds were common and ordinary folk. The angles did not announce the birth of Jesus at Herrod’s palace or in the temple. The message that Christ was born was brought to the everyday person. Obviously, Jesus is for all people (rich and poor and everything in between). Still, I love the symbolism that it was Shepherds who heard. The Good news of Jesus is for all who believe. Christmas reminds us of why we share the Great Commission.…
we belong to God
we have transgressed and sinned against God
we have been given the greatest gift: God the Son who was sent to die in our place
we must repent of our sin and believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ
we can be restored back to God through faith in Jesus
And this message is for whosoever believes in Him. Christmas reminds me to share it.
The Gospel is worth a celebration.
The angels announce the news to the Shepherds, and immediately the angels burst into a praise song. They praised God for this great miracle. Can you imagine being the Shepherds and hearing the likes of this heavenly choir? This angelic praise would have put the London symphony and their Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to shame. Likewise, the Gospel is cause for celebration!
Every time someone gives their heart to Christ is a time to celebrate. I can think of no better way to celebrate Christmas besides telling a person about the good news of Jesus. Celebrate by sharing the real meaning of Christmas with your children. Celebrate by sharing the Gospel to a needy person that you are assisting. Celebrate because someone shared the Gospel with you.
Christmas is a celebration. Why not celebrate by participating in the Great Commission.
The Gospel is not proclaimed by angels.
The Shepherds were told about the birth of Jesus by angels. Still, it is essential to remember that it is not angels who are entrusted with the Gospel. Peter says,
“. . . These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—angels long to catch a glimpse of these things.” (1 Peter 1:12)
Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), 1 Pe 1:12.
Angels long to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ because they are not humans. The angels have not experienced the grace and redemption that comes through Christ. The Gospel was preached to you, not by an angel, but by a believer in Christ. We are not told of angels receiving the Great Commission before the ascension of Christ, but we are told of his followers receiving the Commission. Actually, after Christ ascended into Heaven, two angels appeared and said, “. . . Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven?” These angels were prodding the apostles to get to work!
Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), Ac 1:11.
These apostles had a job to do, and the angels weren’t going to do it for them.
Angels will not do the job for us. If we have received the gift of salvation, we need to share the good news with a lost a dying world. It is our job to believe the Gospel, celebrate the Gospel, and to proclaim the Gospel. We need to make sure the Great Commission has a place in Christmas.
I would also encourage you to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering this Christmas. The offering goes to help IMB missionaries to proclaim the Gospel across the world. IMB is a trusted Southern Baptist work that puts over 3,000 full-time missionaries on the field. If you would like to give to Lottie Moon this Christmas, you can follow the link below.