I received this devotion a last month from Ron Hutchcraft's "A Word With You", and thought it so worthwhile to share during our 40 Day Focus.
Nate Saint, better than anyone else I know, may have captured Christmas from heaven's perspective. I've stood on that beach where Nate Saint, Jim Elliott, and the others died at the hands of the Aucas. But today, the men who murdered them are leaders of the Auca Church, and many, including me, were inspired by their example to serve Christ. On the eve of his last Christmas on earth, Nate Saint wrote his perspective on Christmas, and I can't get it out of my mind. I hope you won't either. I believe this is the heart of God about Christmas.
Here's what Nate Saint wrote in his journal on December 18: "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 the 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." Twenty-one days later, Nate Saint died, attemping to rescue some of those very people.
His words are hard to hear in the middle of all our Christmas activity. Aren't they? It's all about a spiritual rescue mission that cost the Son of God His life. That mission was clearly spelled out to Joseph when the angel announced the coming of Jesus to him in Matthew 1:21, our word for today from the Word of God. "You are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins." The very name Jesus means "the Lord saves" - that's "save" as in rescuers saving people from the rubble at Ground Zero, or a firefighter saving people from a burning building. Sin is the burning building we're in, trapped with no way out - except for heaven's Rescuer, Jesus Christ, who gave His life rescuing ours with the "crushing agony of Golgotha."
Following Jesus means living to join Him in His rescue mission to save others.
Maybe even in these countdown days to Christmas, you can pray for God to open up some amazing opportunities to tell someone about Him - why He came, why He died, and what He does when we open our life to Him. Because Christmas is all about a rescue mission - to intervene for someone who is, in Nate Saint's words, hurtling "headlong into a Christless night without ever having a chance." You can be that chance.
Jesus, may we see your children as You do. Help us to have the words to share, the eyes to see, the heart to love, to courage to reach the lost.