This week we continued our Christmas series "A Ginormous Christmas" at Wednesday Night Worship. We opened with a worship set that included "The King Is Coming" (Newsboys), "Silent Night", and "Away In A Manger". I did a brief recap of the previous week's message and introduced the topic for this week looking at #2 in the "Code of Elves: There's Room For Everyone On the Nice List".
Thinking about this through the eyes of the world, it is a list that is determined by whether your good outweighs your bad. If you are deemed worthy of being on the nice list, then you get the presents. With this way of thinking then we start to believe that the better we are, the more we earn. This of course goes completely against salvation and the Bible. We know of course that salvation is not works-based, but is only through the grace and mercy of Jesus and His sacrifice for us on the cross. When thinking about the nice list as far as from a biblical perspective, we know that the Bible tells us about the "Book of Life" as referred to in Revelation 20:15 and other verses. Again, this is not a list of those whose good outweighs their bad, but the book that lists the names of those who have come to salvation through Jesus Christ.
We read about the shepherds in Luke 2:8-12 and how the angel appeared to them with this message of good news. This message of good news is that Jesus, the Messiah, had been born. I think it is important to note that in verse 10 it says that this good news will be "for all the people." This means that Jesus came for everyone! This is incredible news! This is why Christmas is a big deal. It wouldn't be a ginormous deal if He only came for some.
So thinking about this, here was the challenge for the students. First of all, if they have not received this gift of salvation then that is first priority. However, if they have been saved then the challenge is the same as the previous week's: to rejoice over this news and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. When we start to do this, then it becomes our desire to share this gift of salvation with others. I told the story that my wife's favorite gift that I have ever got her at Christmas is a heated blanket. Such a simple gift from me turned out to be one she really likes. She does not just keep this gift for herself. She is gracious enough to share this with me when I'm cold (our house is old and tends to always been cold in the winter). The question we need to ask ourselves as Christians is whether or not we are bothered by the fact that people around us are lost without Jesus. I shared a clip from "Elf" where Buddy is about to go to New York to find his dad. Santa is telling him some tips for the city and then tells him that his dad is actually on the "naughty list". Buddy's reaction is a horrific "NOOOO" to this news. While it's funny for us to watch this scene in a movie, do we react with such emotion to the fact that there are people next to us daily who are lost without Jesus? While it is admirable that we do things this time of year for those in need such as provide presents, fruit baskets, etc., we have to ask ourselves if we are more concerned with people having a gift to open on Christmas than we are concerned with their salvation? We closed with a time of prayer and reflection for the students to search their hearts and see if this is their desire.