19 April, 2024

Christmas: Good News for All People

by | 24 December, 2023 | 0 comments

In today’s penultimate Christmas memory, Team Expansion president Doug Lucas describes a scene during a bus ride that opened his eyes in a new way to the great need for Christ around the world.

_ _ _

By Doug Lucas 

On a cold December evening several years ago while helping launch a new field for Team Expansion in the Middle East, I traveled overland by regional bus through a sparsely populated patch of hilly countryside. As I rode along, I passed the time listening to Christmas songs through my earbuds.  

The sun had set and darkness was falling fast on the hills and valleys visible outside my window. That’s when I saw them. On a hillside just a few hundred yards away, a handful of shepherds had started a campfire to repel the chill. Some of them were wearing Middle Eastern robes that resembled something we might have used back home in a church Christmas play. Scores of sheep had gathered around them on that hillside with no fence anywhere in sight. It was like I was peering back into the past.  

The shepherds were warming themselves by a fire exactly as their ancestors must have done—except, on that night, some 2,000 years ago, an angel showed up with some good news that was to bring great joy for all people who heard it. A baby had been born in a barn nearby. His destiny was to save the world. 

Suddenly, I opened my eyes to the people around me on that bus. Few, if any, were likely to have guessed the significance I was attaching to the scene on that hillside outside our windows.  

I wondered how it was possible that one-third of the world’s inhabitants, some 2.9 billion people, still hadn’t heard that good news nor experienced that great joy. It suddenly seemed like the greatest social injustice of our time—that they’ve been restricted from hearing the gospel. They are non-Christians by circumstance rather than by choice. The only difference between me and the others on that bus was that I was born some 12,000 miles away in a land where Christianity not only is freely accessible, but also is the dominant religion. As I looked upon the faces of my fellow travelers, I was reminded they deserved to know the meaning of Christmas too. 

I’ve never forgotten that night. And I’ll never stop living for this cause. May God help us this Christmas to carry that great joy and peace on earth to new friends and faces around the block and around the world. It’s a cause worth living for and, what’s more, it’s the real purpose behind that first Christmas. 

Doug Lucas serves as president of Team Expansion, a missionary sending organization based in Louisville, Ky., that partners with local churches to multiply disciples and churches among those who haven’t yet been permitted to hear about the real meaning of Christmas. Visit TeamExpansion.org to pray, go, or send someone to a hillside far away. 

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