Thursday, December 24, 2009
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It was Christmas Eve, and the Hutchcraft family was acting out the Christmas story. Our daughter was Mary, with a towel draped over her head. Our oldest son was Joseph, bathrobe and all. Our then two-year-old son was the closest we could come to a baby; he was in the giant laundry basket. I was, of course, an angel dressed in a white sheet, sitting celestially on the back of the couch. And my wife - well, she wanted to be a sheep. So she was crawling around the living room floor with our sheepskin rug draped over her, doing her very best "baaas." And the doorbell rang. It was two teenage girls from our youth group. Their folks were home getting drunk, and they were wondering if they could come to our house for a little while. When they came in, our Christmas players were in full gear, baa-ing and all. The girls looked at one another, wondering if we were in any better shape than their parents. But, hey, the door was open and we invited them right into our Christmas.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Open Door at the Manger."
It was only appropriate that we should say to anyone who came to our door on Christmas Eve, "Come on in." After all, that's what God did when His Son was born that first Christmas. He threw open the door and said, "Come on in" no matter what you're like. He might be saying that you this very day.
Anybody's welcome to come on in and join God's family. How do we know? Well, for one thing, look at who got the first invitation to "come on in." Shepherds. These guys were considered the lowest of the low-lifes - unfit to even be allowed in God's temple. So of all the people God could invite to the first Christmas party, who does He ask to come? Shepherds.
It says so in Luke 2, beginning with verse 9, in our Christmas word for today from the Word of God. "There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them..." The angel made this startling announcement, "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." So Jesus begins His life on earth by welcoming in people that most would say are definitely "not His type."
Maybe that's how you feel - you're not the religious type. Maybe you, like the shepherds, have experienced your share of closed doors, rejection, condemnation, and plenty of loneliness. It could be you've done a lot of things, and made a lot of mistakes, just looking for love and acceptance. And you know you've done a lot of wrong things. But that's the very kind of people Jesus came for!
The people who miss Jesus and miss heaven are the people who think they've got it all together, who are quite religious and quite good and not really in need of the Savior who died on the cross for their sins. But just like He did for those shepherds, whether you were born in church or never been in church in your life, Jesus is throwing open the door to His family and to His heaven and saying, "Come on in. I died and I rose again so you and I can be together forever."
The greatest mistake you could ever make would be if you missed what Jesus died to give you. Can you think of a better time to throw open the door of your life to Jesus than Christmastime; the time He left heaven to come here to rescue you? He's waiting for you to reach out to Him and put your total trust in what He did for you on the cross - whatever you've done. This isn't about what you've done. It's about what He's done on the cross for you.
Right where you are, at this very special time, tell Him, "Jesus, I'm Yours from this day on." I'll tell you, your life will never be the same. I would love to help you right now at this moment as you're actually perhaps on the edge of beginning your relationship with this Savior, making the Savior your Savior this Christmas season.
Well, I hope you'll go to our website and check out the help I've tried to make available there so you would know for sure how to begin your relationship with Him. It's YoursForLife.net. Let me encourage you to go there as soon as you can today.
As we celebrate the day Jesus was born, you can celebrate the day you get born into His family. Go to sleep tonight with Christ in your heart and His peace in your soul. From Him, from our team here - Merry Christmas!