Upon ascending Pikes Peak on an 1893 summer day, Katherine Lee Bates scanned the Colorado horizon, catching a glimpse of the distant Kansas grasslands. She later recalled the spectacle, claiming that “when I saw the view, I felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.” The panoramic view inspired her to pen the words to our patriotic song, “America the Beautiful,” picturing “purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.”

In a similar way, the eminence of Christmas carries us to the pinnacle of God’s purpose in sending His Son into the world. The prophet Isaiah narrates the global drama of all the tribes and peoples of the world flocking to the Savior. He beckons them to “arise, shine, for your light has come,” announcing that “the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Is 60:1). Our hearts cry out for the same. We long for every nation and culture to come to know our Jesus, the Christ of Christmas. He is their only hope.

Don’t miss the world and the message of a global gospel in the Christmas story. Holding the baby Jesus in his arms, Simeon saw the world through God’s eyes. He understood clearly the import of the infant, as “a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel” (Lk 2:32). The nativity ought to open our eyes in the same way, showing us what God is up to through Jesus.

So, how can you keep the mission in the manger? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and/or to missionary families directly. Consider giving to missions as much or more than you will spend on any other Christmas gift. Be sure to teach your children to do the same.
  2. Invite a neighboring family, especially one new to our country, to a Christmas Eve or Morning service at your church. Be ready to answer their questions about their experience, explain the gospel, and even lead them to faith in Christ if the opportunity arises.
  3. Look for ways your family can serve others in the community in Jesus’ name. You may want to volunteer at a rescue center or gather gifts for a needy family.
  4. Plan a family mission trip to serve somewhere during the school vacation. We are in the process of making connections in other US cities where missionaries and church planters are requesting help. We may be able to give you some immediate ideas for service.

The blessing of Christmas is magnified in the hearts of those on hand to marvel at the miracle. Picture the wonder of the shepherds and the magi at their privilege to witness the virgin birth! Then imagine your own joy at being God’s instrument to touch other lives at this season. He has called each of us to be part of His mission, at home and abroad. When we allow Him to use us, we join the prophet and the hymn writer in singing from our hearts, “Joyful, all ye nations rise!”