On the Frontline
A Christmas message from a Rolls-Royce Chaplain
By Nigel Selby
The Chaplain General to the British Forces in the First World War was Bishop John Taylor Smith. He had a passion for those fighting in the conflict to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. He encouraged those in the Chaplaincy service with these words.
‘I cannot but write to you a few lines as you go forth to your usual ministry… Take to all your comrades in the service… a loving message, by life and lip, of Jesus Christ, a personal Saviour, who has identified himself with us that we might be made like unto him, partakers of the divine nature.
Tell of his birth at Bethlehem – Emmanuel – God with us.
Tell of his death at Calvary – God for us.
Tell of his heavenly gift at Pentecost – God in us’.
He went on to say, ‘There will be many who will not hear your sermons, but they will read your looks, your life, your actions, and will thereby be helped or hindered. See to it that they find faith, and hope and joy, and the love that never fails as they behold in you Christ’s representative’.
Maybe you think this is an odd way of thinking about Christmas and what happened in Bethlehem. But I got to thinking, it’s not just about the one event, the one revelation of God to man. It is about the whole gospel message. The incarnation is nothing without Calvary, and Calvary is empty without the resurrection and gift of new life through Christ’s Spirit.
But it’s that other bit that struck me. Coming up to Christmas how do people see us? Those around us face a deadly foe, they need to see the Saviour, it may not be bombs and bullets, but it is just as lethal. Do we show by our lip and life that we are Jesus representative? Do we exhibit the faith, hope, joy and love that we have received?
If you have opportunity to invite folk to join you in events in your church or fellowship group over Christmas, that would be great, but make sure your invitation is not devalued because you’re not being the witness Jesus has called you to be for him in the world where you are.
The grace of the Lord Jesus is with you as you trust him and live for him each day.
Yours in Christ