What Would Jesus Want For Christmas?
Tony R. Nester
When I was a young boy the only time you could watch cartoons on television was on Saturday mornings. Most children looked forward to this once a week cartoon programming. One of the common cartoon themes involved having an little alien from outer space approach some earthling with the words, "Take me to your leader!"
Today's cartoon shows are much more sophisticated and they are available every day of the week on one or more of the hundreds of television channels available. But one thing hasn't changed is we're still looking for leaders.
In every organization the cry is for leadership.
Right now we're going through a political crisis in our country because our President has been an inconsistent leader. On the one hand he has given us good leadership on the domestic economy and in the arena of foreign affairs. But he has given us terrible leadership in the areas of integrity, trust, morality and morale. It's hurt our country and engendered greater cynicism about political leadership.
Not long ago I listened to Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church talk about leadership in the church. He repeated again and again that "the church is the hope of the world, and the future of the church lies in the hands of its leaders."
What does this have to do with Christmas?
Just this. In Christmas we celebrate the arrival of our true leader. This is the season, along with Easter, when we hear Handel's Messiah. "Messiah" is a leadership title. It's a Hebrew word that means "anointed one."
The Messiah is the one who has been anointed by God to be our leader. He is the one who leads us out of
sin into salvation
out of legalism into grace
out of death into life
out of darkness into light.
Christmas is about the arrival of the One who comes to lead.
Isaiah prophesied of his coming in these words:
(Isaiah 9:6-7 NRSV) "For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this."
This is a leadership driven Scripture. It's built on the word "authority." Of the One who comes to lead it is said that "rests upon his shoulders" and that his authority "shall grow continually."
What is this authority for? It is authority to lead. The Messiah, the Christ, comes with the God-given authority to lead, rule, and reign over our lives. This Scripture is leadership and the leadership of Christ.
The angel announced his birth to Mary with these words:
(Luke 1:30-32 NRSV) "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you wil ...
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