Galatians 4:18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. (NIV)
Throughout December, we all see bumper stickers, church posters, and yard signs that read ‘Jesus is the reason for the season,’ ‘Keep Christ in Christmas,’ and my all-time favorite, “Beat the Christmas Rush – come to church this Sunday!” Whenever I see them, they make me smile, but I wonder how they come across to people who are not church goers or even Christians?
Are those signs too ‘preachy?’ Do they come across as being smug and self-righteousness? Is our zeal for the Lord hampering our effective witness in the community? And, can you really capture the real message of the Gospel in a bumper sticker anyway?
Over the years, the best witnesses to Christ at Christmas come from the loving words and deeds of compassionate people. They effectively put Christ back into Christian, which for me is more important rather than relying upon a silly slogan. If church people were zealous for the Lord in ways that would support the poor, comfort the heartbroken, and embrace the unloved then our churches would be filled each and every Sunday, no matter which season we were in.
Question for personal reflection
How can I become a sign of Christ’s love in my home, at work, and in the community at large?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we want to positively witness on Your behalf, especially at this time of year when so many people are thinking about Your Birth. Enable us to be aware of the effect that our words and deeds have on other folk. May we become human signs and symbols of Your grace and love. In Your Holy Name, we sincerely pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask a question or make a comment about today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest snowman drawings. It’s called ‘Even Snowmen Know.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3671/11192118666_85888f4534_b.jpg