29 Nov Christmas Is …
Who do you pray for in your devotion time? We are going to skip past the typical pastor directive to have a prayer time, but if you are not doing this, start today. That time is immensely important to our own spiritual development, and God really, really likes it. So…I didn’t skip past it after all…it’s because I know how vital it is. Back on task…during your devotion time, for whom are you praying?
Along with the many prayer concerns you have shared with me, one of the groups on my list is the persecuted church around the world, listed by country. One of the worst offenders is China. The government of China is communist, and they are not fans of religion, let alone Christianity. While the church was already under close scrutiny and oppression, the bar has been raised once again.
The Chinese government has now outlawed house churches—a thriving network of believers forced underground by communist oppression. The government is going door to door to confiscate religious artifacts and symbols, including Bibles. They are also planning to put cameras in the state-approved churches to monitor sermon content and the people attending worship. This is not Stalin-era communism; this is right now.
While news of persecution may not surprise us, it should serve as a reminder of the brokenness of this world. The brokenness does not simply exist on foreign soil or even in governments. We know it in our own lives.
In the midst of this brokenness, creation is groaning. God intended for us to travel through this life with Him, but we continue off course. Our lives may be better off than some of our Christian brothers and sisters, but that doesn’t change our dilemma. We need a Savior to bring us back to God. That is why Jesus came into our broken world.
Jesus wants to heal all of creation, and He wants to do it one person at a time. Jesus desires to come into each of our lives and bring us back to God. This is the miracle of Christmas.
We are beginning a new sermon series this Sunday about what Christmas means. There are all sorts of things that Christmas is not, but we are looking at what Christmas is. I hope you can join us.
Blessings to you,