Every Christmas, at some point, I can’t help but think of Stephen. You know, the person from the Bible mentioned in Acts chapter 6 and 7. We have ministry groups dedicated to how he lived and proclaimed the message of Christ. We talk often of his boldness, we talk about him in times when we need someone to boldly go out and share the message of Christ, because he did, even at the cost of his life. Each Christmas I think about him for a little bit.
I think of Stephen because of what he did, his job. He is chosen right at the beginning of Chapter 6, he, Stephen, is to serve tables. This is what he did; this is what he was doing when boldly confessing Christ, and in the end, being stoned to death. Throughout the Bible, we are told that the Lord wants us to take care of widows and children. In the ancient world, a widowed woman had nothing, and if no one would care for her, she would not be able to really live. This being the case it was of the utmost importance for those who could, to look after them, in the Old Testament times, it was left up to the house in which she belonged, in the New Testament; the task was given to all of us.
It is Christmas time, a time of reflection on the previous year, but also a time of giving and receiving. It is a time when we think about how the year went and how we can improve over the next year. It is also a time to give gifts and receive them, a truly joyous time. When we reflect this Christmas, perhaps we should think about ways in which we can also give and receive with one another in the community of the Church. This means that maybe we can think of ways to serve those who need our help, but it also means that if you are in need, you need to allow yourself to be served.
This is something that is vitally important to me, but also to the church as a whole. We have done Bible Studies on it in the past. We have done Fearless and talked about sharing your faith, we had a powerful study last year about Outliving Your Life which focused on the many and various ways in which we can help others. This year we will be reflecting on what it truly means to live as we meditate on what it would be like to be told that you have only 30 days to live. I hope that you are able to participate, either by coming to church and hearing and seeing and attending Bible Class, or if you can’t do that, at least being able to read the book and listen to the sermons.
This Christmas season, I hope you too will think about Stephen, a man who served, because Christ first served Him by taking his sin and dying upon a cross. Christ has done the same for us, He has done the same for others. May God be with you this Christmas season as we celebrate our Saviors birth so many years ago.