Last night as I flipped through channels, the Home Shopping Network caught my attention. I was surprised at how quickly I got into the Christmas spirit. As I listened to the hostess’s description of red and green plaid garland sprinkled with gold painted pine cones, I had to force myself to stay seated instead of running to my wallet to get my credit card number and expiration date. Those hosts can have me wanting spider vomit for my bedroom just by the way they string together their adjectives. I refrained from dialing in but found myself drawn into the feeling of Christmas even though it is 100 degrees outside. Now that is the power of a Christmas in July sale. Can we take a quick break from the full swing of summer and talk about Christmas?
Almost every year I get such a kick out of watching a kids’ Christmas play at church. There are third graders dressed up as wise men, a pillow shoved under a small girl’s robe representing the coming Savior, and usually a flock of roaming sheep whose five-year-old attention spans need to truly be corralled. Fathers are video recording every move their offspring make, and the inn keeper’s mother is in the audience, mouthing along with her tiny tot the words, “No room. There is no room in the inn.”
From previous experience I know that these lines have been practiced in the kitchen, on car rides, and before bedtime prayers. It’s serious stuff . . . who knows, there may be a Hollywood talent scout in the audience just looking for the star of his next commercial. The other onlookers delight in the mess-ups and love it when the ten-year-old donkey clad in brown fabric smiles as his pregnant passenger slides off and onto the floor. Fun times and lots of room for human error.
Life on this planet feels like a drama, and we are the actors. I know who has written the play and who is directing it. God has a beautiful plan for His children, and in His loving kindness, He has assigned us important parts to play. We only have to take responsibility for our individual roles. He has not asked us to run over and try to get the other cast members to do their parts the way we think they should.
When we read the Christmas story, we see that each person performed a crucial, divinely inspired part. Mary carried baby Jesus, Joseph supported her in her obedience, the wise men followed the star, and the shepherds spread the word concerning what had been told to them. One carried, one supported, some followed, while others spread the word. Each person doing his or her God-assigned part. Each person worshipping the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. All characters playing their roles in the greatest story ever told.
The story still goes on. Our world is watching and wondering, Is there any hope? Is there any true peace? As we walk with the Director of this ongoing beautiful story—His story that unfolds daily in our individual lives and in our collective ones—we are helping those who are lost to be found and comforted. As we Christians unite and embrace the roles we have been assigned, those watching will see and feel the love of a heavenly Father. Let’s call them in from the highways and the byways as we follow His direction. Let’s point them to Him as we laugh along the way.
Ephesians 4:11-13—It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
I Corinthians 3:5—What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe-as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed. Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who water is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.