I recently stumbled across a quotation from one of my heroes of the faith that has given me much to think about, and I only consider it fair to share it with you. Missionary Nate Saint was among 5 men who were brutally killed in an attempt to reach the Huaorani people, but shortly before his death he wrote:
As we weigh the future and seek the will of God, does it seem right that we should hazard our lives for just a few savages? As we ask ourselves this question, we realize it is the simple intimation of the prophetic Word that there shall be some from every tribe in His presence in the last day, and in our hearts we feel that it is pleasing to Him that we should interest ourselves in making an opening into the Auca prison for Christ.
As we have a high old time this Christmas, may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was. May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha. May God give us a new vision of His will concerning the lost and our responsibility.
During this holiday season, especially among Christians, we often hear numerous pleas to remember the true meaning of Christmas, and I fear that these words of mine may simply become so much filler or the source of a passing tinge of guilt which quickly dissipates in the shuffle of celebrations and festivity. Yes, it is true that we must strive with great difficulty in this age to focus on the birth of our Savior amid the demands of an increasingly busy schedule and the temptations of commercial marketing, but should our minds not pass beyond simply considering the babe in a manger to reflecting on the broken body and shed blood of the Man on the cross? And should our ears not be attuned to the cries of the lost who stumble about in the darkness, seeking to find meaning and purpose in the baubles and trinkets of this passing world, while we have received the Light of life? Should our hearts and our hands not be moved with compassion toward those for whom Christmas offers nothing but a brief respite from the drudgery of life, which lasts only until the guilt of overindulgence and ever-increasing debt comes crashing in after the new year begins?
Should we feel guilty about joining the festivities? Of course not. It is right that we should rejoice in the coming of our Savior with the full understanding of His sacrificial death and life-giving resurrection, and that we should take the opportunity to show our love for one another in special ways. But even as we join in the celebration, let us pray for a renewed sense of the love which God has poured out in our hearts and a compelling desire to share with others the greatest gift of all – the hope of eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:17-18)