Manger Invasion

Tags: SEND North, Story

What are the traditions and special memories that make up your Christmas? What would it take for you to give those up? Our teammates come to the Far North from all over the world out of love for God and a desire to make him known. They leave the traditions and memories of their home cultures to dive willingly into a new way of living and celebrating. Even though it is a life-changing decision, it is also a satisfying sacrifice. Notice, I didn't say easy:

  • Extreme cold and absence of daylight can cause the jolliest of people to struggle with the blues.
  • It takes extra hard work to achieve the simplest tasks. For example, brining children to practice for a Christmas program can mean spending hours on a snow machine in the bitter cold.
  • Working in areas where people have deep struggles that are made even heavier by the holiday season. This work is draining, especially when you have limited resources to care for yourself.
  • Cross-cultural service always leaves the servant between two worlds, loving both and yet never quite fitting into either. Going home for Christmas is never the same.

These are a few of the sacrifices, and to be sure they are painful at times. However, all of us in SEND North know a truth that keeps us moving past the pain. It is in these places of hardship that God is closer, sweeter, and more powerfully seen. There is nothing to be compared to seeing God move in power through our weak, fallible obedience. Giving oneself to be used to snatch precious souls from the jaws of our adversary is a life well lived. Truthfully, this is the heart of Christmas.  Our Great and Mighty God made the greatest sacrifices.

  • He set aside his rights and willingly dived into our toxic world with our perverse celebrations.
  • He loved this world but never fit in.
  • He had to struggle to live in the First Century in ways we can't even imagine.
  • He gave of himself to crowds who were in pain and who ended up abusing him.
  • He gave to the point of sweating blood and being crucified.

Despite all of this sacrifice, Jesus endured for "the joy that was set before him." He saw the end game and knew that the sacrifice was worth it. That baby born into a manger was an invasion on a cosmic scale. It began as a small mustard seed but it is spreading.  We have the privilege of partaking in it, and by we, I mean you as well!

So as we enjoy our gifts and ponder the greatest gift of all, let's ponder how we can sacrifice to make God's name great around us. To be sure it will be painful at times, but it will be a satisfying sacrifice!

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