I’m kind of excited about having our Christmas Eve outdoors this year. It’s about as stripped down as we’ve ever done Christmas. We’ll have some staging, lights and a good sound system, great music, hot chocolate, and short and I pray powerful message about forgiveness, but there will be a simplicity to it that intrigues me and draws me in.
I think in some ways it may better reflect the original Christmas than anything we’ve ever done. Being outdoors will be somewhat less comfortable than being in a climate controlled building with comfortable chairs. But then there was nothing climate controlled about the first Christmas. I love the possibility that people will literally wander in from the streets, not to hear a speaker or listen to a band, but I hope, because something about Jesus compels them.
My wife Toni and I were talking about our service and she said it reminded her of the story of the banquet that Jesus told. Where many were invited, but in the end, God threw open the doors to the poor, the blind, the crippled and the lame — all those who never felt welcomed before. Amen. Bring it on.
I guess I’m asking you to pray with me that God would welcome the unwelcomed this Christmas. That those of us who know Jesus could host strangers in an open field (park) and let the world know that Jesus really did die for us. That we climb over snowbanks for a few minutes to share a very real message about an unreal love that came to us. Sometimes those gatherings are the ones we’ll remember for years, because something happened when we gathered together and God was there.
Two full page ads are running in area newspapers today inviting people to Heritage Park in Barrie Monday evening for our service (6:30 p.m.). I pray people who really would love to meet Jesus would join Connexus people from all campuses for an incredible celebration of our God in a setting that’s not that far off from the original one. I think it could be an incredible gathering.
It would be awesome, wouldn’t it, if the world knew what actually happened and what it actually means? Pray with me, with us, with billions of Christians this weekend, as we all get ready for that.