This week concluded our Christmas series. Each week we highlighted the message and our theme by introducing a communion mediation moment. Communion is a part of every weekend service, but it is most often a private, “self-serve” moment. We wanted to change this up and add a personal element to it while leading everyone through communion together. This week we focused on being open to what and where God may move in your life.
It was Christmas time, 1980. My mom and dad had just separated, so mom and I were temporarily living with my grandparents. My mom was now a single mom trying to make ends meet, so I spent my days with my grandmother. Now that wouldn’t normally seem unusual except that my grandmother was on staff at a large church in the Bible Belt. Imagine, if you will, an evangelistic old lady with a beehive hairdo. That was my grandmother. She would take me with her to visit people door to door. I would watch as – one by one – people that seemingly didn’t have the time to talk would 20 minutes later be in tears and giving their lives to God and asking Jesus into their hearts. You can imagine the impact that had on a 8 year old boy.
One night my mom had to work late, and my grandmother put me to bed. She walked by my door many times that evening and noticed that my eyes were wide open. She finally came in to ask me if I wanted to read something. We went into the living room by the Christmas tree in the corner. She pulled out her Bible and had me read the Christmas story in the Gospel of Matthew. I read the following verse: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” – Matthew 1.1:21 and at that point, I looked up at my grandmother and asked “Can’t you tell me how to get to heaven?” You see, she had been telling everyone in Ft. Smith, Arkansas about Jesus except me. Now, of course, she did this because she wanted my decision to follow Jesus to be my own and not one forced by a well-meaning grandmother.
I knew, even at a young age, that there was a huge gap between me and God, and I was powerless on my own to bridge that gap. Knowing that Jesus bridged that gap for me radically changed my life.
That day I began the journey I’m still on, and communion – for me – has always been tied to Christmas. Because I learned at a young age why we celebrate Christmas. God became flesh and dwelt among us to take our place to take on a death that was meant for us and exchange it for life. His body was broken, and His blood was shed… for me. For you. On a cross. And three days later, He conquered that death and our sin by raising from the dead. And so this Christmas, I encourage each of us as we take communion to not only receive the elements, but receive Him as Savior and Lord.
Special: All Is Well
Run Sheet: December 20, 2015