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For the past few years we've been celebrating Christmas mainly with non-Christians, and having fun doing it!

It seems a little abnormal.  After all, the other religions have their holidays, and we have ours.  Don't Christmas and Christian belong together? Christmas can be a great time for outreach, churches often agree, but mainly this involves rounding up a few prodigals--cultural Christians who come around on Easter and Christmas--and inviting them to our programs, rather than truly taking Christmas to people who don't identify as Christians. For their joy and ours.

The angel announced tidings of great joy "that will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10). It may have been possible for the first audience to understand this announcement to mean that the Messiah was sent for all Israel. But by the end of the Luke-Acts narrative, there can be no missing that he is for all peoples, regardless of ethnicity or religious heritage (Acts 10:34-43) -- all who put their faith in Him as Redeemer.

This season, I've been fond of telling my non-Christian friends that Jesus isn't just for Christians.  Jesus, therefore Christmas, is for non-Christians, too. Christmas pageants and programs geared for the faithful are great. Yet if we Christians keep Jesus to ourselves alone, inside the walls of our churches, requiring people to come inside, look and act like us to get a piece, this is our mistake. He is for all the people.

Jesus is for Muslims.  Jesus is for Hindus.  He is for atheists and New Agers. He is for the owner of the Chinese restaurant and the Iraqi refugees downtown.  Of course he requires them to lay down every other allegiance and object of worship as they turn to Him in faith.  He requires that of Christians as well.

This year, take Christmas to the non-Christians around you. Announce to them that Jesus the Messiah came unto His own, but then and now, those who are culturally regarded as "His own" do not all receive Him.  To as many as receive Him He offers the gifts of eternal life and sonship with God (John 1:11-12).

Merry Christmas, for the joy of all peoples!