Christmas: The Model for Mission
By Stephen R. Lewis, Associate Director of Global Strategy
It’s that season when we celebrate God with us, that fullness in time when God clothed himself in human flesh and lived among us, human.
It stretches the limits of our understanding; it’s beyond our ken. But our God came to us as a baby, vulnerable and weak, unable to do anything, totally dependent on the care of strangers. As I reflect on this, Paul’s words about Christ in Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV) come to mind:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
It’s mindblowing to imagine giving it all up—that power, that position, that identity—to be human, to live among us as one of us, to suffer the same ills that we suffer and experience the same joys. As a baby, Christ Jesus, Immanuel, breached the separation between God and man, taking on a new identity as human, one with us.
In this season, I remember the missionary community spread across the globe—men, women, and children who have left everything to follow God’s call to go and walk alongside the local church globally. They have left their homes to live among strangers, given up power and prestige and position, and become like children. Just as Christ took on a new identity to be with us, men and women in missions take on a new identity to be among the people God has called them to.
Today, I am reminded that Christmas is our model for missions, that we travel a path broken by a babe who gave up everything to be with us.