Today I made the shift. I switched from my regular playlist over to my Christmas playlist. Now, when I get in the car, instead of listening to Tomlin, Hillsong, and Passion, I’m listening to all the famous carols that draw us into the celebration of the Christmas season. Though not one of the peppier Christmas tunes, one of my favorite carols has always been O Come, O Come Emmanuel (I’ve always wondered why a song with such a happy message has such a dreary melody).
I especially love the 4th verse:
O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave.
There you have it, the reason for the season, Emmanuel, God with us. The long-awaited Savior, descendant of David, left heaven to come to earth and rescue us from sin and the grave.
As leaders who minister to young adults, we can learn a lot as we reflect on this carol and many others that lead us to celebrate the birth, life, and ministry of our Savior.
- Obedience—Jesus models obedience to the Father as he left heaven and came to earth for His appointed ministry. Jesus was fully God and yet He surrendered to the direction of the Father. We don’t share in Jesus’ divinity, but how can you reflect His obedience to the Father in greater ways in the coming year?
- Presence—Jesus didn’t minister to His creation by only sending angels to take care of us or commanding other parts of creation to act in a certain way. He fulfilled His ministry by leaving heaven, coming to earth, and ultimately laying down His life for us. He walked alongside, dined with, and prayed over his disciples and others as He was on His way to the cross. Your presence in the lives of young adults is a valuable ministry tool. How can you grow your ministry of presence in other’s lives?
- Humility/Sacrifice—Philippians 2:5-8 reminds us of the extent of Jesus’ sacrifice and humility. Jesus wasn’t born into a palace but into a manger. He traded heaven for earth and the eternal hope of all mankind has been forever changed as a result. Jesus didn’t hold tight to His divine rights but acted in surrender. Will sacrifice and humility mark your ministry to young adults in the coming year?
Of course, we can never fully model the ministry of Christ. He was perfect (we’ve already messed that up) and divine (we aren’t an equal part in the Trinity). He is unique in all of history to be able to accomplish the work of the cross. There is so much that He teaches us along the way. May young adults be discipled more deeply as we seek to model the ministry and attitude of Christ more closely!
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.