Sunday, December 18, 2016
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you: You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger." Luke 2: 10-12.
The title of this post comes from our newest novel, being released Christmas week, about an overworked, unhappy young man whose life suddenly and dramatically changes when he receives an invitation from a stranger to begin a new life precisely at midnight four days before Thanksgiving.
The Invitation is an allegory of the greatest invitation ever extended to mankind. Two thousand years ago in Bethlehem the Son of God came to earth to invite the world into a relationship with Him. The angels who announced his birth extended this invitation to "all people"--everyone is invited. From shepherds guarding their flocks by night, to wise astrologers in distant lands, from fishermen to kings--everyone, rich and poor, great and small, male and female is invited to be forgiven of sin and reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. The invitation that was extended that night was to become part of God's family--to find hope, and freedom and peace and forgiveness and to enter into a relationship that never ends with the God who made everything. No one is excluded, but no one is automatically included. Each invitation must be received and accepted, individually.
In the story, invitations from Kinsman go out regularly but most are never opened. Many of those who do open the invitation do so only to have a specific problem fixed in their lives. They have a health problem, or a financial need, or some situation that they want resolved. Once the recipients have their need met, they do not see any additional need for Kinsman and so they move on, never to participate again.
But the goal of Kinsman is not to hand out wishes like Santa Clause. The goal of each invitation is to redeem the life of the one who receives it. Each invitation, if used properly, redeems a debt, restores a life, and eventually transforms a person who is in desperate need into a person able and willing to help redeem others.
Too often in real life we treat God's invitation with as little regard as the recipients in the story. We want our need fixed, but we refuse to recognize that the greatest gift God gives us is Himself. The invitation He offers is not merely to have our financial situation improve or our relationships restored or ailments healed. True, He does do those things for us, but the real gift of Christmas is the gift of Jesus and the relationship we can have with Him.
This Christmas, you are invited to begin a new life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you choose to accept God's invitation, you will experience the greatest gift that has ever been given.
Alexandra and Joyce Swann's newest novel, The Invitation, is set for release Christmas of 2016. For more information, visit their website at http://www.frontier2000.net.