We might not think of Romans 8 as a great Christmas passage, and yet it’s all bound up in the amazing generosity of God’s gift to us in Jesus: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… what the law was powerless to do… God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.” (Rom 8:1-2) That is Christmas! God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. What amazing grace, what wonderful kindness. And this shows us how confident we can be of God’s care for us, even when things are difficult, because “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:32). Christmas is the assurance we have of God’s love and care for us: if he has already given us what is most precious to him, then the rest is just small change. We can be assured that he is never holding out on us, even if we might feel like we’re missing out at times. We can rest assured that he loves his children and is working in all things for our best – to make us more like Jesus.
I am so thankful for this assurance, and I’d love for all our neighbours to have it too. Just this week I was talking with staff who manage the Holdfast Bay Community Centre, and they mentioned that in a nationally available phone support service for families dealing with substance addiction, the City of Holdfast Bay is their highest point of access. The local government area with the highest demand in the whole nation! Now, there are various ways you can interpret that statistic, but one clear implication is that behind the front fences and front doors of many of our neighbours are households crying out for hope and assurance – even when so much looks to be going so well on the outside. I’d love to share the assurance we have in Jesus with them – wouldn’t you?
So, our Christmas flyers are in from the printer, please grab some on Sunday to invite neighbours, friends and family. We’ve put the details up on our website and our Facebook page so you can share the link with them. And next weekend we’ll have the bundles ready to go for letter box drops to our neighbourhood. Why not take a walk to invite people to hear the good news!
What are we doing for Christmas?
First, on Sunday December 24, we’re getting together over lunch instead of our usual church service.
And then on Christmas Day we’ll get together at 9am for a great church service of carols and fun and hearing the Christmas message in a way that will be encouraging for us all and really clear and engaging for non-Christians too.
Let me tell you about the lunch:
We’ll ticket this event at $10 per adult and $5 for kids to help with costs and to communicate to our guests that they’ll be well catered for. It’s going to be a delicious spread of cold meats and gourmet salads with yummy Christmas treats for dessert. There won’t be a talk or presentation, just the chance to enjoy each other’s company and share our church family with the guests who come along.
Please ask God to prompt you with people that it would be good to invite. Perhaps a neighbour or colleague, for example, who might be encouraged by the taste of what it is like to be part of God’s family, and decide to find out more about why God sending us Jesus is such a profound assurance for us all.