The Christmas Pep Rally!

November 30, 2013

by Maria Fontaine

I was thinking about Christmas and what God had in mind when He allowed this one event to become so prominent, even though the example Jesus set was to make our faith something that permeates every day of our lives. Doesn’t that encourage people to just do a little something over Christmas and then feel exonerated or excused from doing much in service to Him during the rest of the year?

When I asked the Lord, “Why the Christmas season and all the celebration over Your birthday?” He gave a little illustration that summed it up well for me: “It’s like a pep rally!”

Whether it’s a political convention building enthusiasm in the party members, or a sports rally revving up the audience to cheer for their team, a pep rally is a time of passing on the vision. It’s a time to stir up whatever is needed to carry you forward with motivation and wholehearted dedication to accomplish your task.

There will usually be some inspirational activities, such as a leader or other inspirational speakers, or cheerleaders, or other sources of motivation. The goal is to get the team or its supporters fired up and motivated to give all they’ve got to accomplish their mission.

I’d never thought of Christmas from this perspective: God up there as the “motivational speaker,” leading the angelic “cheerleaders,” getting heaven all excited about Jesus’ big “game” of running the race of life. I can almost picture the grandstands and everyone cheering Jesus on in unison as He sets out to earth. Just imagine the burst of thundering cheers as all heaven foresees each victory, as the Lord gathers His team of disciples and conquers death and sin. That first heavenly “pep rally” would have really been a sight to see.

But it’s not enough to have just one pep rally. People have to be motivated by having such rallies repeatedly. Christmas can be like our yearly pep rally, preparing us for the coming year of running the next phase of the race before us.

In the context of Christmas, Jesus is getting us cheering and excited with the celebration part, or what we could call the “rejoicing.” We join together for fellowship, to sing songs and praises. We celebrate His life and sacrifice for humankind, and all that He has invested in us.

We get stirred up, remembering what Jesus did to get us to where we are now. We feel a deep contentment when we think about the unlimited joy and celebrations we’ll be having when we all have finally crossed the finish line, having won the victory of doing our part and playing whatever role He has assigned us in order to usher in His perfect kingdom on earth.

We have good reason to rejoice. Our lives, in spite of setbacks or difficulties, are truly blessed, because, no matter what, we have what Paul called “the hope of glory.”[1] No matter how severe or devastating something may be in this life, it’s always just transitory, as God promises that there will come a time when He will wipe away all our tears.[2] We’re on our way to a better realm, a realm that’s perfect and never-ending, where the pain of life’s suffering and disappointments cannot follow us. The wonder, the fulfillment, and the beauties of heaven will be ours to enjoy. As believers we already have aspects of His kingdom living in our hearts and spirits. We have His hand in our lives, the truth of His guidance, and what the Bible calls “the peace that surpasses the understanding of the mind.”[3]

These times of celebration are the “feel good” part. But as wonderful as that part of Christmas is, we have another even more important purpose in putting our hearts into this “pep rally” of the Christmas season. It’s great to get stirred up about past victories, but if we want the ultimate victory to come, we need to focus our fire and enthusiasm on accomplishing the task before us.

Jesus chose to leave the most amazing home, unlike any the world has ever known. The fire and passion of His love for humankind motivated Him to go from a life of splendor to a life of squalor, from light to darkness, from purity to a world plagued with sin. As is expressed in the song: “Out of the ivory palaces into a world of woe, only His great eternal love made my Savior go.”[4]

This “operation save the world”—such an amazing, unimaginably huge undertaking—is something only God could have devised in order to “save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.” God is the ultimate motivator, with the most important cause in the universe.

Quoting the ancient prophecy in Isaiah, Jesus described His mission on earth like this: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” [5]

But Jesus didn’t stop there. He has chosen and empowered each of us to be a privileged member of His team. He loved us so much that He included us in this amazing journey. He wants us to share in the joy and victory that is coming closer every day. He designed the plan so that the men and women He saved could carry on His mission to rescue others. He said, “As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you.”[6]

He made us His family and called us His friends. He invites us to communicate freely with Him and be privy to His personalized instructions. He desires us to take on His nature, the nature of a humble and loving servant, willing to sacrifice to rescue others who are captives of sin, to free them from their prisons.

We have to go to them, just as Jesus came to us. We can’t stay in our nice, safe, comfortable places waiting for them to seek us out. It’s going to cost in some way to make the effort, to give what we can to help someone else—our material support, our time and service, or our own ease and strength so that together we can all work toward the ultimate goal of fully establishing His kingdom on earth. It’s a team effort, and every task is important. At times our part might seem small, but as a team, everything matters and even the smallest task can be critical.

Be part of God’s “pep rally” this Christmas as you let the joys and blessings of this blessed season stir the vision and fire in your heart. Take time to rejoice as you focus on the one who Christmas is all about.

Make this Christmas the start of another year of finding the lost, liberating the captives, bringing hope to those who have none and life eternal to as many as possible.

[1] Colossians 1:27.

[2] Revelation 21:4.

[3] Philippians 4:7.

[4] From “Ivory Palaces,” by Henry Barraclough, 1915.

[5] Luke 4:18; Isaiah 61:1.

[6] John 20:21.