Home for Christmas
Our high school fall retreat this year was a joint retreat with three other churches. Typically we only go with our group, but I have become convicted that unity means we need to share space and energy with other people and churches. So, we went along with Southside Church of Christ, Southern Acres Christian Church, and Centerpointe Christian Church. The most amazing thing was that, rather than being a time where groups clashed and competed with each other for territory, the students quickly gelled. In fact, our students on the trip said that it was the best retreat they had attended precisely because they got to meet students from other groups!
One of the main draws for Christmas is the time we get to spend with family. Going home, settling in, and feeling whole with the people that have formed us, is the joy that we have during the Christmas season. This is what is offered to the world in Jesus’ birth. Through Jesus we all have a brother who is not ashamed to call us family (Hebrews 2:11-12). So in a real sense, every church service is a homecoming for us, and we await the ultimate fulfillment of the present offered to us.
This family also extends across racial and ethnic lines (Galatians 3:26-29). One of the other great joys our students get, is working with Russell Cave Church of Christ to put together Thanksgiving boxes for families in need in the Winburn community. The feeling that comes with encountering someone who is different, and then finding joy in that difference is what really changes our hearts.
So this Christmas, let’s not just find “home” and “comfort” with those who are close to us, but let’s extend that hospitality to someone who isn’t like us. That is precisely what God did for us in giving us Jesus.
~ Brad Haggard