The first Christmas was dark and dismal. We may not think of it that way . . . but it was. Oppression ruled. Politically, hobnailed soldiers ground the people into dust. Culturally, the arts took on a foreign and distasteful flavour. Spiritually, the people were lost in a maze of dos and don’ts.
This was the real scene in Bethlehem.
Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus wasn’t born into a world of bright lights and “Silent Night.” There were no charming Christmas trees with gifts all around. There was no Christmas goose or turkey or ham (certainly not ham!) served for dinner. And there was no family gathered singing carols . . . only a few foul-smelling animals and two bewildered parents.
Everything about that first Christmas seemed bleak. It was dark, dismal, and—from a human perspective—hopeless.
But many folks forget, or maybe they’ve never known, that the story of Christmas is really just the introduction to the story of Easter. Born in a lowly stable, the Son of God lived on earth, died on a cross, and rose from a grave. He brought hope to a hopeless humanity, light to a dark world, and healing to broken hearts and fractured relationships.
This was the mission of Jesus while He lived among us. And this is also the mission of Insight for Living. Following the example of Jesus, we preach the truth of God to a world desperate for joy and meaning. With the needs of real people in mind, we preach the inerrant Word of God applied to daily life. We underscore the grace of God that offers hope for the hopeless, healing for the hurting, and a spiritual home for the lonely. We preach, as Jesus did, that faith in Him brings forgiveness of sins and adoption into the family of God.
So the holidays need not be a time of sadness and loneliness. Regardless of our earthly situation, all Christians are part of a family—an extended family of brothers and sisters, most of whom we will never see until heaven. The writer of Hebrews called them a “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). Some are known . . . and more are unknown, like the seven thousand believers who didn’t bow to Baal (1 Kings 19:18), or the unnamed, hidden saints in Caesar’s household (Philippians 4:22), or the numerous believers Paul listed in Romans 16—Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys . . . and on and on (16:7–15). You won’t find a familiar name in the bunch, but they’re family. Your family.
Even today, without knowing it, you’re surrounded by hidden supporters and encouragers. How many there are! In fact, a fellow saint may be praying for you at this very moment (Ephesians 6:18)!
And just think, those who tune in to the Insight for Living radio broadcast, who listen through our web site, who read our Insights newsletter, who speak with Terry Boyle…your Insight for Living UK pastor, or who study Scripture guided by our Bible Companions could become your spiritual brothers or sisters in Christ!
Bringing hope and dispelling despair was Christ’s mission; that’s why Christmas came to earth. But Jesus didn’t do the work alone. He selected twelve disciples to carry on His mission. They were His “enduring companions”—men who stuck with Jesus, who carried the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), and who gave their all to the ministry of God’s Word.
In the same way, Insight for Living UK depends on dedicated, enduring companions…our Monthly Partners…to link arms with us—lifting us up in prayer and standing with us financially each month. We desire to cultivate deeper, stronger relationships with our partners in ministry . . . to ensure that we share the same vision and to provide mutual encouragement.
When you partner with Insight for Living UK, you make an eternal investment in the lives of men and women in your community and throughout the UK and Europe. You can help bring many who are lonely into the warm light of God’s family. I hope you will choose to walk closely with us as a Monthly Partner. It could be the very best Christmas present you’ve ever given.
For more information on how you can become a Monthly Partner, call our listener ministry team today on 0800 787 9364.