Jesus Perfect Family Series (and 5 Ways to Apply It)
This Advent season we're looking at Jesus' Family in the gospels. We often think of Jesus' family as being "perfect" but they're not exactly the kind of family that would be able to send a great Christmas card update at the end of the year. They had a scandal, some struggled to believe God, they were mostly poor, they had few impressive accomplishments in the eyes of the world.
They were imperfect, but they were exactly who God intended for Jesus to have as his family.
They give us hope because when we look at ourselves, we're not perfect either. We struggle with unbelief, most of us aren't prominent or impressive, some of us have things in our past we want to forget, none of us are sinless (even at the most wonderful time of the year). But we are all invited into Jesus family. That's the good news of Christmas!
So how can we get the most out of this season as a church? Here are five ways:
In Scripture Mary does a lot of thinking and pondering and we should do the same. We should pause in the busyness of life and parties and lights and cookies and consider the deep and beautiful truths of Advent. My prayer is that as we spend time reading the stories surrounding Jesus' birth and look at his family we would be amazed that *we* have been invited into this family through Jesus.
As we look at Jesus' family we see profound implications for our own lives. As a church we're especially focusing on how being brought into Jesus' family gives us a heart to invite others into his family. We have so many opportunities in daily life to show the love of Jesus' family and invite others in. We'll be talking about orphan care and adoption and mentorship and caring for those in crisis. As we do let's look around us in everyday life and ask, "Is there someone around me that I could show the love of Jesus to?" Perhaps there's a single parent at your workplace, or a teenager in your extended family that could use a mentor, or a foster care family that could use support.
We are highlighting two special giving opportunities at the end of the year that are right in line with our series. If you're considering making end of the year donations consider these as great places to give.
- Rancho 3M: This orphanage and childrens home is located just across the border in Guadalupe, Mexico and serves a very vulnerable population. They also have a school that serves the surrounding neighborhood and specifically educates children to provide pathways out of poverty. I've had the privilege to visit this place many times and it truly is a special place where the love of Christ is shared with kids and the surrounding community.
- Pregnancy and Fatherhood Solutions: This non-profit serves those who find themselves in unplanned or crisis pregnancies. Women are supported with counsel, love, and encouragement as well as with practical supplies. Fathers are supported as well through counsel and encouragement. The staff here is full of the love of Christ and they've seen powerful stories of life change.
You can donate directly at their respective websites or on our website and select the appropriate "Advent Fund."
Note: We'd encourage you to give to opportunities like these but not at the expense of the local church you call home. Churches are great extensions of care along these lines as well.
4. Commit to Volunteer
As we highlight organizations like Rancho 3M and Pregnancy and Fatherhood Solutions you'll see that there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, and plenty of needs for volunteering in our El Paso community. As you look ahead to 2019 let's be willing to ask, "Lord, do you want me to commit some of my time next year to serving in one of these ways?"
5. Involve the Family
If you have kids don't miss the opportunity to involve them in all this. Talk to them about Jesus' family and its implications. Pray and think together about giving to one of the organizations. Consider creating your own family "Jesus Family Fund" and ask the younger kids to collect change (or pay them for some household chores!) and then donate the money at one of our Christmas services. Talk to them about kids who don't have families and how your family can help.
These are just some starting place ideas. You don't have to do all 5, but you can make time for some of them. And I think you'll find that the Advent and Christmas season are even more meaningful as a result.