Missions Catalyst 10.12.05 – Practical Mobilization

In This Issue: God Rest Ye Merry Mobilizers – Christmas Is for Mobilizing

Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Use it to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!

Practical Mobilization by Shane Bennett is published once a month.

God Rest Ye Merry Mobilizers: Christmas Is for Mobilizing

By Shane Bennett

I don’t know about you, but Christmas is a big deal for my family. We love it. In fact, having lived in Holland for a couple of years, we now do something of a double take on the holiday, celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 6 and Christmas on December 25. While admittedly there’s a whole lot to be discussed about the American celebration of Christmas (i.e. Is Santa a demon or is he OK? Did Jesus really want us to buy each other a lot of stuff to celebrate his birthday? And the perennial denomination splitter: Is it OK for the eggnog to have real rum or should it only include rum flavoring?), I want to pose a question that might help us mobilizers breathe extra life into this holiday. Basically I’m wondering how we can leverage Christmas to adjust the attitudes and behaviors of our constituencies regarding reaching the least evangelized peoples of the world.

Just to be clear, I’m no fan of heavy-handed admonishments that say, “Celebrate less, because some don’t get to celebrate at all!” I don’t think we release people to give their all for God’s purposes by driving down that alley. Even so, I’m open to being wrong about that. So let me ask, how can this huge celebration be used as a tool to advance our purpose as we see it from God? (While “using Christmas” sounds a bit mercenary even in my own ears, I hope you understand what I’m saying.)

What do you plan to do in your church, small group, or with your mailing list this December to remind your friends and followers that this great gift we celebrate yet waits to be opened in many parts of the world? E-mail me with your thoughts and ideas. I’ll pull the best ones together and publish them in the November issue of Practical Mobilization so we all have time to implement the ideas God lays on our hearts and minds.

To prime the pump, here’s a brief article I recently drafted …

Good Reason to Celebrate

As the door swings open, warm light spills out into the dark, chill night and outstretched arms welcome you to the party. Handshake to handshake, hug to hug, you’re gathered into the house. Familiar songs from holidays of your childhood compete with football on TV, the running footsteps of a dozen children, and the happy din of catch-up conversations. The earthy bouquet of pine-scented candles gives way to the rich and steamy aroma of the feast that awaits you. A sigh comes unbidden to your lips. The food makes the day, doesn’t it? To your feeble and false protests a plate is pressed into your hands and Aunt Somebody leads you down the table laden with food that says, “Life is good. God is good. Our family that we celebrate and celebrate with is good.” As you step away bearing what looks for all the world like a tenth scale model of Pikes Peak, you hear Aunt Somebody admonish, “Eat that, then you get right back here for more.” Tucking into your personal buffet, you watch family and guests arrive and depart, sharing greetings and giving and receiving gifts. Deep in the back of your mind, Louis Armstrong’s gravelly voice begins to rise, “I said to myself, ‘What a wonderful world.'”

Later when the children begin to drift to sleep in upstairs rooms, downstairs chairs, and relatives’ arms, the family patriarch takes a seat toward the head of the room. The TV is turned off, conversations drop to whispers then cease, and he begins to speak. Of course you can’t understand the resonant Arabic flowing from his lips, but Aunt Somebody, now sitting next to you, helps out by telling you he’s reciting from the Koran, recounting the story behind this celebration, the sacrifice that Abraham was willing to make, but that God, at the last moment, prevented.

In your heart you know the ram God gave Abraham foreshadows the sin-quenching sacrifice of Jesus, whose birth you’ll celebrate in a few short weeks. But your dear friends, now warming the room with their breath and bodies, warming your heart with their love, do not see it so. Your warm heart aches, “When will they see it so?”

Can I give you a word for Christmas this year? Please celebrate with gusto, and encourage your family and friends to do likewise. We have good reason to celebrate: We’ve been given an astounding gift. And if conscience allows, raise a glass and toast the happy situation that finds you a child of God Most High. And perhaps in some quiet moment whisper a prayer that next Christmas finds many more gathered around the table, counted as your sisters and brothers, wholly devoted to this great king Jesus.

Questions? Problems? Submissions? Contact publisher/managing editor Marti Smith.

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