When the Christmas budget (for some) is virtually zilch and perhaps hearts are heavy over missing a loved one, it’s easy to lose sight of the “reason for the season,” so to speak. Yet often it’s in the difficult times that believers gain deeper insight into the truth of God’s character and care for us.
In a series of Christmas-themed podcasts RTB scholars Hugh Ross, Fuz Rana, Kenneth Samples, and Jeff Zweerink delve into the truths God has illuminated in their lives and also share some of their favorite holiday traditions. Here are some highlights.
Jeff Zweerink on Patience – While Jeff does not dread most responsibilities, he admits that some difficult and necessary tasks are not things he looks forward to. As a parent, husband, and an apologist he sometimes encounters failure. Still, he sees that God gives him (and us) opportunities to live according to His will.
Although we may fail, God calls us to keep pressing forward on the path He has set before us, even if that path includes difficulty and occasional failure.
Kenneth Samples on Grace – Ken discusses the notion that we’re not only saved by grace, but also we’re kept by grace. Unfortunately, many Christians think their relationship with God depends on a certain level of spiritual discipline, Ken says. Yet “none of us has perfect sanctification; none of us in perfect in confessing all of our sins. The blood of Jesus Christ keeps on cleansing us from all of our sins.”
Yet our response to grace is not to “go on sinning.” We can respond to grace with gratitude and discipline to continue to move toward Christlikeness.
Fuz Rana on Love – Fuz usually avoids getting “too gushy,” as he puts it, but when asked about God’s nature he said “God is love.” Being made in the image of God makes humans uniquely capable of entering into fellowship with God. But that fellowship was tarnished when humanity fell. Yet because of God’s boundless love for us, He sent His Son to dwell with and rescue us from the bondage and consequence of sin.
Fuz sees this attribute of God (love) as driving the central purpose of what God is trying to accomplish with the creation of human beings. Acknowledging that humans are made in God’s image ought to challenge each of us to consider how we interact with others. Fuz explains:
If I’m going to truly worship God, truly serve God, truly love God, I’ve got to love those people who are made in God’s image. And I’ve got to go after those people who are marginalized in our world and show them love.
Recognizing that all of humanity bears God’s image ought to motivate us to treat individuals—even those who are not “like me”—with genuine love and care.
Hugh Ross on God’s Intimate Care – Even the faithful will sometimes ask, Is God really watching me and looking out for me? Hugh finds the answer by looking at the fine-tuned features of the cosmos. If God put that much care into the universe, our galaxy, our star, our planet, our moon, and the surface of the planet then, yes, what David says in Psalm 139 (and Ephesians 2:10) indeed must be true.
Those strong in faith are given opportunities to serve and meet the needs of those struggling. Yet often we ignore those opportunities “because we don’t have the confidence and faith that God really is that intimate with everything that happens.”
Hugh explains that we get the idea that God is busy. Still, “he’s not too busy to pay attention to the events that are going on in your life. He’s not too busy not to direct circumstances and people in your life to benefit you.”
During this Christmas season, may these brief reminders of God’s matchless attributes offer renewed hope, joy, and gratitude for the birth of Jesus Christ.