LOVE ALL (Todd Lester)
A Christmas story that has always stuck with me is one from my life as a teenager. It made a big impact on me and I still remember it so many years later.
When I was in high school I worked for a man in my church who owned a garage. I could tell that he was trying hard to make his business different and that he wanted to use the relationships he had with people to tell them the goods news of the Gospel. He was very creative in trying to invite people to our church. He always had posters up throughout the garage for every event that the church was doing. He would often personally invite people to those events if they showed any interest in a poster.
But each Christmas he took this desire for outreach to a higher level. He would go through his financial books and create a list of people who owed him money. This was generally a full page of names. This was a group of people whose cars he had repaired but had been unable to pay him. (From working for him, I knew he would often let single moms take their repaired car even if they were unable to pay.)
At Christmas he would send them a letter regarding the debt that they owed to his garage. The way I came to know about this practice was he asked me to proof read his letter (his spelling was not the best). In the letter he would explain to them that he wanted to forgive their financial debt to him because it was Christmas. He would then explain that Jesus had forgiven his debt so he wanted to forgive the financial debt as a small act of gratitude for what God had done for him. He would also include an invitation to our church’s Christmas Eve service. He told me that since God had loved him in such an amazing way he felt compelled to love others in any way possible that would help them come to experience the love of God.
I have always considered this to be an amazing act of love and kindness and a creative way to share the goods new of Jesus … especially at Christmas time.
Challenge (by Devon Wagler)
This passage is traditionally held as a messianic prophecy, meaning that its prophesying Christ’s coming in the New Testament. It was this kind of passage that gave the impression that the messiah would come as a conquering king for Israel.
Is there or is there not incredible power in the story of Christ’s birth, and the reality of who he is and what his coming means? Read this passage from Isaiah and take some time to think about how this powerful figure relates to Jesus.
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!”
(Hamilton Wright Mabie)