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Christmas story is the ultimate rescue mission

Christmas story is the ultimate rescue mission

Christmas story is the ultimate rescue mission

3 December 2019

Photo: Mishal Ibrahim

By Commissioner Janine Donaldson

 

“There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us” (1 Timothy 2:5 CEV). While walking along the street recently, I overheard a lady speaking to a dog, which was bundled up and held under her arm. “I didn’t even know I needed rescuing, but you rescued me,” she said to her canine friend.

Heartfelt and full of meaning, that sentence spoke to me, for it was a reminder that I, too, have been rescued, for I, too, needed to be rescued. I was spiritually lost; I was separated from God.

In fact, I had lost things I didn’t even know I had lost. I don’t like being lost or even just losing things. Having lived in a number of different countries, there have been times when I have been horribly lost while trying to find new places. And it wasn’t just that I was lost, I was lost and frightened, upset and distraught. I was scared, desperate to find my way to a venue or home.

You value something a lot more when you have lost it. Scripture certainly points this out. The parables speak of the shepherd searching for his lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7), the woman searching for her lost coin (Luke 15:8-10), or the father running out to greet his lost son (Luke 15:11-31).

What I love about these stories is that they all end with a wonderful party. It’s like Christmas, because as John 3:16 reminds us, “God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost but have eternal life” (NCV). Like the shepherd in the story of the lost coin, Jesus comes to rescue us, his people.

We can’t rescue ourselves, we need a saviour. When we know Jesus, we recover what we have lost, we find our way; his love gives us so much reason for joy and celebration. God’s gift is one of salvation. His rescue mission is to recover us, to give to us that which we didn’t know we needed or had lost. Jesus offers restoration in our lives.

He doesn’t come to point out our failures, he comes because he loves us and desires to bring us back to him; to give us peace, joy, new life and a promise of eternity with him. As we unwrap gifts this year, let’s make sure we unwrap the gift of Jesus, the greatest gift of all.

Christian songwriter Michael W. Smith has penned these words:

A child is born tonight in Bethlehem

His mother holds him close and sings a sweet lullaby

All the world lay sleeping unaware that God himself has come in the night

The shepherds tremble as the angels sing

And in their song the voice of God speaks peace to the world

A miracle has happened, God has come, and God has spoken

But the miracle has only just begun

And the God who spoke is speaking still

And the God who came still comes

And the miracle that happened still happens in the heart that will believe

And receive the miracle of Christmas

So, come to Bethlehem again and see

The one who’s come to rescue us, our Saviour and King

Bring your past, the joy, the sorrow, all your hope to find tomorrow

And hear the words again, fear not and know that God is near

Believe the miracle of Christmas

Will you believe?

Commissioners Janine and Robert Donaldson are the territorial leaders of The Salvation Army Australia Territory.

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