Christmas: What does it mean to be marked?
During this Christmas season at Grace Church we’ve been working through a series called [They] Missed Him – [He] Marked Them. Our children’s pastor, Brad Habegger, and I have preached these messages together. Every week we each speak about a Biblical character that missed Jesus and a Biblical character that was marked by Jesus. The point of this series is to cause our folks to ask themselves, “Have I missed Jesus in all my activities this Christmas or am I marked by Him?”
This coming Sunday, as an example of a Biblical group that missed Jesus, I am talking about the religious leaders. They knew so much but understood so little. Pastor Brad is going to speak about the shepherds and how they were marked by Jesus.
Let me explain a little more about what it means to miss Jesus or be marked by Him. Those who miss Jesus could be identified by their focus. When they attend a church service they talk about the decorations, or the people they saw, or the music they heard. What you don’t hear them talking about is Jesus. It’s so easy to miss Jesus in the sentiment of Christmas - the gifts we have bought, the events we enjoy and what we hope to do over Christmas. The Religious Leaders are a good, clear example of a group that knew so much but missed Jesus. As I prepared this series, I wondered how many in our pews and in other churches around the country this season have missed Jesus. They don’t have a personal relationship. They’ve missed Him.
When I think of being marked by Jesus, I think about what impact that had on Mary, the shepherds, wise men, and Joseph. Their lives were changed. Others could see that change taking place. Their worship was different. The Shepherds didn’t come to worship Jesus and say, “I don’t like this song. I’m leaving.” Instead, they were focused on the Messiah. They had been marked so much that their worship was evident and powerful. Think of Mary’s song of worship. Think about the distance the wise men traveled. Think about the gift of worship they brought. I hope that helps you as it helps me – to think about what it means to be marked by Jesus.
So as I close this year’s Spot of Grace, let me ask you some direct questions:
Have you missed Jesus this Christmas? Are you unmoved? Is your worship dry? Is the story of Jesus’ birth a little boring to you? Or are you marked by Jesus? Are you thinking about what it meant for God to come and walk this earth? Are you thinking about how your worship is impacted? Will others look at you and say without a doubt, “That person has been marked by Jesus!”
Have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful, spiffy New Year!
PS – There will be no Spot of Grace on the Wednesdays before Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. See you next year!