For many, the Christmas season is a time of year centered on Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or Saint Nicholas; on beautifully decorated Christmas trees and festive display of lights; and most of all—on gifts! Amidst the commercialism and chaos of the season, it becomes easy for the greatest gift of all—our Savior, Jesus Christ—to be forgotten. However, were it not for Him, we would have no reason to celebrate!
As believers in Jesus, Seventh-day Adventist Christians must be mindful of His place in our hearts and lives. This is not simply a cliched saying and neither is it merely a seasonal sentiment. Our relationship with Jesus should be integrated into our lives year-round. If Christ is a central part of our lives, then celebrating Christmas is an extension of that relationship and a celebration of the beginning of Christ’s earthly mission.
So how do we extend our relationship with Christ to those around us in a practical way? One of the ways we do that is by following His method for reaching other people. This method includes mingling with people, meeting their needs, winning their confidence, and then encouraging them to follow Christ. In order to find out how the worldwide Church evaluates this method of evangelism, the 2017-18 Global Church Member Survey (read more in this previous blog about the survey and also in this blog) posed a question about the most effective way to reach the needs of others (Q42.08). A clear majority (89.8%) of respondents agree or strongly agree that Christ’s method for reaching people is the best way. This data is encouraging as it shows us that many members worldwide understand the importance of modeling Christ’s example in their interactions with others.
An equally important aspect of Christ’s ministry is the part of it that we believe continues in heaven. The GCMS 2017-18 also asked members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to share what they think about His current ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. (Q45.03). More than four-fifths of respondents wholeheartedly embrace the Adventist teaching that Jesus is actively advocating before God in the heavenly sanctuary, while another 12.1% say they accept it because the Adventist Church teaches it.
We often focus our thoughts on Christ’s earthly ministry but let us not forget that, at present, He continues to work for our salvation. This Christmas season, take some time to reflect on the beautiful gift of salvation that Jesus has made available to us. Think, too, of how you can extend His love to others and share the Good News of salvation. This could be the best gift you ever give!
As we come to the end of 2018, and commemorate the first advent of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we wish all our readers a blessed Christmas season. May the love of Christ fill your heart this holiday season, and throughout the coming year.
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry
Published by ASTR