During the Christmas season, followers of Jesus commemorate his birth. The coming of the Christ-child marks a total shift in what the world knew about religion. An old man, Simeon, who meets the infant Jesus in the temple puts it best. Holding baby Jesus, he says to God that he can depart this earth in peace because his eyes have seen the Lord’s salvation, “which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
Two thousand years later, over two billion people claim to follow Jesus. The young Jewish boy, born in a barn to an unwed mother, who became a refugee to Egypt, has made a greater impact on human civilization than anyone else. Evidence suggests that he is who he claims to be: the son of God. Yet his Palestinian homeland is wrecked by violence; instability and poverty mark the surrounding nations.
Christ-followers from Boston to Beijing desire to see the promises of God of a global church, with Jerusalem at its center, reach fulfillment. They have a choice: despair over the chaos in the Middle East and the apparent moral decay of the Western nations, or look for the Lord transforming the earth in unlikely ways. The Messiah was born after the people of Israel experienced four hundred years of silence from the God who had promised his steadfast love to them. So, too, might the multicultural kingdom of God be inaugurated in unexpected ways–right under the noses of the powers most opposed to the glory of God’s Son?
I believe that visual art, storytelling, and digital media are critical weapons for those who would choose to follow Jesus into the front lines of his mission. I would like to share with you how I am training myself in these areas to become an increasingly effective sharer of the good news of Emmanuel, “God with us,” for the benefit of the nations of the world most hungry to hear.
May Simeon’s prophecy be fulfilled sooner than we know.