There was once a ship that was carrying a group of missionaries to a foreign country, when a storm blew up around them and one of the missionaries was swept overboard, and although they searched in the end the ship was forced to give him up for dead.
Except that the man wasn’t dead. He had found a piece of wood floating in the water, and so for many days and nights he had clung to it, at first hoping to be rescued, but then just waiting to die.
But that wasn’t what God wanted, because after a few days he was washed up on the shore of an island where he was found by some tribesmen.
They took him to their village and cared for him until he became part of their community
And so the years passed, and through all this time the missionary never once talked about his faith. He never mentioned Jesus or the Church. He never spoke about the Bible or told any of its stories.
But if someone needed help he would give it. If someone was hungry he would give them food; if they were sick he would take care of them. If they needed a roof over their head he would take them in or clothes on their back he would give them his. If someone was dying he would sit with them or grieving, he would comfort them.
Well after some fifteen years another ship carrying another group of missionaries arrived at the island, and the people ran to meet the boat and welcome the strangers.
The missionaries took the opportunity to begin to speak about Jesus, but after a while they noticed the puzzled looks on the faces of the islanders.
‘What’s wrong?’ they asked, ‘Don’t you want to hear about Jesus?’ And back came the reply, ‘Why would we want to hear about Jesus when we know about him already. He’s been living in our village for years!’
Now I know it’s only a story, but hasn’t it something to tell us about the reason behind all the light and colour, the love and joy, the wonder and excitement of Christmas…
……God so love the world that he GAVE his only Son: God hasn’t just told us about His love; God has shown us His love in Jesus, in His Son.
And Jesus hasn’t just told us about God’s love either; He’s shown us that love at work in His life.
No wonder Christmas is so wonderful! No wonder we get excited about it!
Jesus is ‘God with us’, and because of Him we have a Gospel to share; a message of hope, Good News for the world, which isn’t just written in the words of a story but in your life and my life and every life.