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Art by Kelly Cromack

DECEMBER 17

The Messenger

Jonah 1; 3; 4:1-3

The angels took the good news of Christmas to a handful of people, but after that first Christmas, God entrusted the message to His people to deliver to all the world. They were to go and spread the word that the King has come, a King for the whole world. To anyone who believes He will give the power to become a child of God.

Yet for us, Christmas sometimes becomes a time to protect time with our people, avoiding outsiders. The checkout clerk in the store is in the way of our celebration of Christmas. The annoying coworker at our Christmas party is standing between us and the celebration we want to enjoy. We often forget that Christmas is a message of great joy and good news for the very people we want to avoid.

Read Jonah 1 & 3

What did God ask Jonah to do? How did Jonah respond? What did that disobedience cost him? What was the message Jonah delivered to Nineveh? How did they respond to that message? How did God respond to them?

Spend some time meditating on the better-ness of our Savior. Jonah went into the darkness of the ocean depths because he disobeyed. Jesus went into the darkness of eternal depths because He obeyed. Jonah came with a message of condemnation. Jesus came with a message of salvation. The people believed God’s message and repented, so God did not destroy them. The people rejected God’s message and did not repent, so God destroyed Jesus in order to spare them.

Read Jonah 4:1-3

Why did Jonah run from God’s command in the first place?

All of us have “Ninevites” in our own lives, people that deep down in our hearts we don’t think should receive the grace and forgiveness of Jesus.

Ask the Spirit of God to reveal who those people are for you. If you can’t think of specific people, contemplate the characteristics or types of people that are hard for you to love. Who are the kind of people you seek to avoid?

This Christmas we celebrate a Messiah who didn’t just die for you and the people you love, but for people from every tribe and tongue and nation. He died for His enemies. He died for mothers and murderers, aid workers and adulterers, presidents and pedophiles.

Think about the small details of your day. How has God arranged your times and places to intersect with people you would rather avoid? What would it look like to take the glorious, gracious message of Christmas to them?