For days now I’ve been trying to write a special “Christmasy” article. One that will make everyone who reads it feel the joy and wonder of the birth of Jesus. One that will warm your heart when you consider the love of God expressed to us by taking on human form so that he could draw us to himself.
But it wouldn’t come.
Instead I am compelled to write about the Syrian refugee crisis. What should be the response of the followers of Jesus to impending influx of refugees? This has nothing to do with the political handling of this issue. Regardless of your opinion of how our governments should have handled this situation, the reality is that we will be receiving tens of thousands of displaced men, women, and children in the coming months and we as individuals need to choose how we each will respond.
Honestly, for any of us who claim to be Christian the answer is very plain. Read again the words of Jesus from Matthew 25:31-46. “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you invited me in, in need of clothes and you gave me something to wear.” Whatever we do for those in need Jesus said we are doing for him. Equally whatever we refuse to do for those in need we have refused to do for Jesus.
Our response to those in need is motivated by the depth to which we’ve experienced Jesus’ love for us. We love because he first loved us. His love compels us to no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life for us.
I have no idea how many of you who are reading this will have opportunity to personally connect with and meet the needs of Syrian refugees. But it is important for us to choose how we would respond given the opportunity. In part because there are people in need all around us through whom we can express our love for our savior.
But how you respond in your heart is an indication of whether you have truly understood what Christmas is all about. That God, in Jesus, has come to you to meet your greatest need – the forgiveness of your sin. Before you choose how to respond to refugees, you need to choose how you will respond to Jesus. And when you accept his sacrifice for you, sacrificing for others in need really isn’t a choice, it becomes your nature.
I suppose this is truly “Christmasy” after all.