How to be Christmas to the World

By Steve Brown

As you may know, most of my life I’ve been a Scrooge about Christmas. While I still sometimes struggle with that, I am a lot better. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m growing in Christ, maybe my wife’s Christmas spirit is transforming me or it could be that I’m no longer a pastor with all the work a pastor has to do at Christmas.

However, I think the real reason I’m a bit more into Christmas is that God has been teaching me that I don’t have to be so much in control. Actually, it’s a deeper lesson than that. He’s teaching me that my efforts to control things are silly because I never was and never will be in control of anything.

Let me give you a nontraditional Christmas text, a powerful statement about the incarnation of God in Christ. Paul said in Philippians 2:5-11: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Talk about going to a dangerous place without any weapons or any control…That’s what the incarnation was all about. Paul said that Jesus “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” and that “he humbled himself.” The world has always been a dangerous place for babies…and God became a baby.

Good heavens! What was He thinking?!

He was thinking about you and me.

The reason Christmas is such a wonderful time is because it is the time we set apart to remember how much God loved His people. It was the time when God came to us because we couldn’t come to Him. It was the time when God told us He wasn’t angry and that He would love us without reservation and without condition. It was the time when God took the armor off and became vulnerable to the worst we could do to him.

A long while back, our grandchildren were with us in Florida. Jennifer, their mother, tried her best to get the girls to eat quickly because they needed to get out the door and were running late. She tried begging, she tried telling them how good the food was and she told them that, if they didn’t eat, they wouldn’t get to go out. Everything she tried didn’t work. So I decided to fix it. In my deepest and most authoritative voice I said, “Girls! Eat the food or I’m going to break your face!”

It got very quiet around the dinner table. Then Christy, who was 5-years-old at the time, started laughing. She said, “Pops, I know you. You would never break my face!”

Christmas is the time when God let us know what He was really like. He went to a lot of trouble to tell us that He wouldn’t “break our faces.” When we understand that and say, “Father, I know you now. You would never break my face,” I suspect He is as delighted as I was with Christy’s understanding that her “Pops” loved her and would never hurt her.

Of course, you already knew that. Christmas is God’s gift to us. But let me tell you something perhaps you didn’t know: We are called to be God’s gift to one another and to the world. Note that Paul said, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” In other words, Christmas is not only the gift of God to us; it is our call to be a gift to one another and to the world. It is the model of what we are supposed to be.

How do we become “Christmas” to others? The same way Jesus became Christmas for us.

Jesus Was Defenseless. Jesus didn’t try to protect Himself. He “made himself nothing.”
I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of my time trying to defend myself and God. I know. That’s silly and a bit neurotic. I don’t have anything to defend and God doesn’t need any defending – He was doing fine long before I came along.

I spent a lot of time recently talking to a dear friend who was feeling horribly guilty about something he did almost 19 years ago. He said that there was no excuse for what he had done. I told him, “Of course there was no excuse. You’re a sinner and, as Paul said to the Romans, you have no excuse. But God loves you and has forgiven you. Just don’t pretend to be anything other than what you are…a man without an excuse.”

That is what it means to be defenseless. In Jesus’ case, it was because He chose to be defenseless. In our case, it is because we really are. We don’t have to pretend to be better than we are to our brothers and sisters in Christ or to the world to which we have been sent. It is our gift to them. If we pretend to be better than we are, if we defend ourselves, if we put on our “emotional and spiritual armor,” they will think that Christmas is only for good people who are very religious. Until we become defenseless – without excuse, without armor – we will be only a curse to one another and to the world.

Jesus Was Demoted. Paul said that Jesus “took the form of a servant.”

Have you ever thought that we are here for “them” in the same way that Jesus was here for us? It’s true. We think that we are special because we are Christians. Being special in the army at boot camp and as a Christian mean pretty much the same thing…We clean the latrines.

In His teaching the parable of the Good Samaritan, I heard a preacher make the following observation: The thieves said, “What you have is mine, I will take it.” The religious leaders who passed by said, “What is mine is mine and you can’t have it.” The Good Samaritan said, “What is mine is yours and, if you need it, you can have it.”

We are called to be Christmas to one another and to the world…and the way we do that is by being a servant the way Jesus was a servant.

Jesus Was Determined because He knew the “end of the story.” Paul said, “Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name…”
It’s the same with us. We will be exalted – not because of who we are, but because of whose we are. At Christmas, God said to us that this world isn’t all there is and that someday we will have the mother of all parties…a Christmas party that will last all year long.

So, Merry Christmas! Enjoy the tree, the parties, the family, the celebration and the gifts.

I know, I know. The really religious people will tell you that you’re supposed to be very serious at Christmas. They are wrong and, because they are wrong, they will never be able to be vulnerable and free enough to be a Christmas for anybody else. Enjoying Christmas and “being” Christmas are sort of like dancing. You can’t think about it. You just have to let go and do it.

Yeah, it’s really crazy to be defenseless in a dangerous world. You can get killed.

It’s really crazy to be a servant and to not care about power. We really do have to look out for ourselves by lording it over one another.

Being Christmas to one another and to the world is really crazy…crazy like a fox.

Reprinted with permission. Scripture quotations are from the English Stander Version of the Bible.
Steve Brown is a radio broadcaster, seminary professor and author, for over 25 years and now devotes much of his time to the Key Life radio broadcast and Key Life Magazine. He previously served as a pastor for the … Steve is an original. He refuses to be a “guru,” doesn’t want to be anyone’s mother and gives, in his teaching, the freedom to think. Overall, Steve has become known for his refreshing and practical Biblical applications.
Steve serves as Professor of Preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He sits on the board of the National Religious Broadcasters and Harvest USA. Traveling extensively, Steve is a much-in-demand speaker. He has authored numerous books including Born Free, When Being Good Isn’t Good Enough and When Your Rope Breaks. His articles appear in such magazines and journals as Leadership, Decision, Plain Truth and Today’s Christian Woman.

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One thought on “How to be Christmas to the World

  1. “There will be no peace on Earth until My Son’s Kingdom. I will crush every kingdom now standing and rock the earth off it’s foundation. I Yahweh will destroy every enemy to My throne, and who can stop Me? Who can turn back My anger? No one.”

    Christ Jesus said at Matthew 10:34 “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    While Satan works to maintain “peace on earth” and halt prophecy, mankind is alienated from God. What was prophesied long ago is currently taking place and will continue to until the battle of Armageddon.

    Ezekiel 29:8 “Therefore this is what the Lord GOD says: I am going to bring a sword against you and wipe out man and animal from you.”

    Yes, that means God is angry.

    Revelation 16:21 “Enormous hailstones, each weighing about 100 pounds, fell from heaven on the people, and they blasphemed God for the plague of hail because that plague was extremely severe.”

    We are currently in the Tribulation and the severity is about to become much worse. If you think things are bad now, you can’t imagine how bad they will become.

    Satan is not the cause of what is occurring in the world via natural disasters, plagues, pestilence, financial crisis and all the rest. It is Yahweh’s will and it comes directly from Him. He is the One in control, and the One whom is nature.

    Psalm 83:18 “May they know that You alone – whose name is Yahweh – are the Most High over all the earth.”

    Calamity will come upon mankind and it will be via Yahweh’s hand. Satan is powerless to stop Him and mankind is powerless to stop Him.

    Ezekiel 28:23 “I will send a plague against her and bloodshed in her streets; the slain will fall within her, while the sword is against her on every side. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

    Yahweh is about to bring full rebellion to Satan’s empire. As hard as he works to try and keep peace, he will not be able to halt the people from rebelling against the governments. There is a reason the job failures and the staggering economy, and the lost homes. They are all designed to culminate against each government of every nation affected by this curse from God.

    Malachi 1:4 “Though Edom says: “We have been devastated, but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of Hosts says this: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called a wicked country and the people the LORD has cursed forever.”

    Satan will bring the nations back up from ruin for a short while, but they will not hold together. During that period of destruction, the people will curse God and seek their true benefactor that is opposed to Christ and Yahweh – Satan. The Antichrist will then make his appearance. The people will be awed by Satan’s regained powers and his strength to bring peace to this world of people. But it will not last. Yahweh will see to that.

    Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!”

    All of mankind is cursed except for the remnant. Think. How many people survived the Great Flood? Sodom and Gomorrah? It will not be any different. Those events were precursors to what will occur in these End Times.

    Mark 11:12 “[ The Barren Fig Tree Is Cursed ] The next day when they came out from Bethany, He was hungry.”

    Mark 11:21 “Then Peter remembered and said to Him, ” Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed is withered.”

    Satan’s family tree is barren and was cursed long ago. Mankind is withering under our Creator’s curse.

    Jeremiah 17:5 “[ Curse and Blessing ] This is what the LORD says: Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind, who makes [human] flesh his strength and turns his heart from the LORD.”

    Mankind is under a curse and belongs to Satan. It requires effort – action on the part of anyone hearing this wake up call to get out of Satan’s empire. Those that have remained are to receive the plagues just ahead. Everything else has just been foreplay. The worst is just ahead, and it’s all from Yahweh.

    When Satan’s empire totally crumbles out from under him and them as their Antichrist, this is what will happen:

    Ezekiel 33:27 “Tell them this: This is what the Lord GOD says: As surely as I live, those who are in the ruins will fall by the sword, those in the open field I have given to wild animals to be devoured, and those in the strongholds and caves will die by plague.”

    Ezekiel 38:22 “I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed. I will pour out torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone on him, as well as his troops and the many peoples who are with him.”

    Habakkuk 3:5 “Plague goes before Him, and pestilence follows in His steps.”

    That is the path Yahweh will lead Satan’s followers down.

    Deuteronomy 28:16 “You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.”

    There will be nowhere to hide.

    For the so-called Christian churches that claim to reveal Yahweh’s Word in truth:

    Revelation 2:23 “I will kill her children with the plague. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”

    They are cursed especially for their lying conduct in reference to Yahweh and Christ. Remember when Yahweh killed the first born males of ancient Egypt? Now He will kill the children of Satan that make up the false churches.

    1 Chronicles 21:27 “Then the LORD spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.”

    The only way this will happen is if they repent and accept Yahweh for who He really is – in Truth.

    Otherwise, those churches professing to be true Christians will go the way of the rest of cursed mankind.

    Revelation 2:11 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.”

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