Jesus arrived on earth as a baby, but he grew up to be a man with a singular message: Love God. Love your neighbors.
Today, we’re going to focus on loving others and we have Jesus as an incredible example of what that means. He left heaven, lived in our broken world, served selflessly, and died tragically. It’s a little embarrassing to consider how unwilling we are to make any effort to love our neighbors and sacrifice for them. Walking across the yard is such a huge sacrifice, right?
Keep in mind, many people qualify as neighbors.
- That colleague in the next cubicle. Does she know you are a Christian?
- The stranger in line at the store. Can she tell by your attitude with your children that you are a Christian?
- The drivers in your lane? Does your bumper sticker lie about who’s at the wheel of your life?
- That relative coming for dinner this weekend or the one who is purposely not invited? How would they rate your spirituality?
Christmas is a great time to repent of being aloof or hypocritical. Take your neighborly self off the shelf and let her light shine for Jesus. He is the light of the world, after all. Shouldn’t he be the light of our world?
Read: Luke 1.57-80 Notice how Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives shared in the joy of John’s birth. Notice the prophecy and promises:
- that we would be able to serve God with fear (verse 74). Remember this when you are afraid to share your faith.
- that we would be given forgiveness of sins ( verse 77) Remember this when you feel you are not good enough to share your faith.
- that Christ would shine through our darkness and guide our feet on a path of peace (verse 79). Remember this as you consider people who need the light of Christ’s love.
Write in your journal: Write out verse 57 on the top of a clean page of your journal. Write down the ways you believe your various neighbors hear and see God’s mercy at work in your life. How do you share joy on a regular basis as evidence that you are a Christ follower? What areas of your life could improve?
Share: Today, create a mental or written list of ways you can share some joy with others because it’s Christmas. Ideas:
- Take your neighbor baked goods or a simple gift like a Christmas ornament. Include card that is distinctly Christian.
- Let someone go ahead of you in line with a statement of faith: “I bet if Jesus were here he would let you go first!”
- Engage in bold conversation with a colleague or cashier, “Are you ready to celebrate the birth of the Savior?” or “Are you going to a Christmas Eve service?” This is very different from, “Do you have all of your shopping done?”
- Sit down with your children to determine how you can bless others as a family.