One of my favorite Christmas songs is Carol of the Bells. I love Mannheim Steamroller’s rendition of it. From the soft and gentle ringing of a lone bell, the orchestra comes to life with excitement and urgency of a message that must be told. The message of one of peace and good will for men. Their message keeps repeating, ringing louder as bell after bell joins in the melodious chorus. Their music fills the air and reaches to the heart of all who truly believe in Christmas.
The bells set forth a challenge to all of us to keep the message going.
It must be repeated from generation to generation.
Our children need to hear it once again. We need to share it with our family and friends. The bells must ring for all those who are hurting and who are in need of a Savior.
Luke, a gentile doctor, follower and friend of Paul accepted that challenge. Although he was not a disciple and had no great salvation experience as Paul had on the way to Damascus, Luke choose to believe in the story of Christ. From the moment he first believed, Luke fell in love with Jesus and could not get enough of Him. His love of Christ persuaded him to share his message with his friend Theophilis in what is now known as the Gospel of Luke, or St. Luke in our New Testaments of the Holy Bible.
Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
~ Luke 1:1-4
We don’t know much about Theophilis, scholars differ on opinions whether it could have been one single person or a group of people. No matter which you choose to believe (in this blog I have chosen a singular person), Luke loved Theophilis enough to share with him the good news. Luke took it upon himself to show Theophilis that what they had heard was true. It took the Good Doctor a great deal of time and effort to gather all the information that he shared. Luke was not able to google it. He wasn’t able to go to the nearest library. He wasn’t able to call on his smart phone. He wasn’t even able to drive door to door conducting his interview. No Luke traveled by foot, for several years, seeking answers to all his friends questions.
With each step Luke took on his journey with Paul, he recorded what he saw and heard. As he met those who had been with Jesus, he asked questions. He talked with those who had been with Jesus personally. He spoke with those who had been healed. He rejoiced with the hearing of testimony after testimony of those whose life had been changed by Jesus. He wrote of each miracle, of each softly spoken word, of each gentle touch.
Luke carefully compiled his evidence that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God and placed it in order of events, that would help his friend understand and accept it as truth. Luke believed and confessed with the first hearing of the message, however his love increased as each written word was penned and each testimony revealed. His passion flows from his heart on to the written pages to Theophilis. More than anything, Luke wanted Theophilis to believe. He wanted it badly enough that he spent years gathering information about Jesus to share.
What if Luke had thought the journey to long? The work to tedious? What if Luke had said, “I don’t have the time”? What if Luke had chosen to let Theophilis continue on in his doubt and unbelief? What happens when you and I do the same thing?
Although he meant his letter to reach one, God blessed his efforts and years later, many lives have been forever changed. Had Luke thought the challenge to hard, had he grown weary of seeking out the evidence, had he given up on his friend, you and I would not have the Gospel of Luke or the book of Acts to read and learn from.
As we begin the Christmas Season, I along with Luke and the Christmas Bells, challenge you to ring your story loud and clear. May each one lead one. And as each one reaches one, may we join in chorus with our voices raised in praise to our Savior Jesus Christ.
Will you take the Christmas Bell Challenge?
Our message is not just a “Christmas Story”,
it has the power to change the world.
But we must tell it! Will you ring it loud and clear, with excitement and a sense of urgency. May all our friends and loved ones hear the blessed bells of Christmas ringing the Great News of the Salvation.
Father, I pray you touch our hearts, pierce our souls with the need for urgency to tell the Salvation story once again. Lord, may we each have a loved one and friend so burden our hearts that we like Luke can not stop until we have shared with them all the evidence. Open our ears Lord as the Bells of Christmas ring to the beauty of the season once again. Let love penetrate our hearts. Help us to remove our eyes off of ourselves and on to the truth…the truth that You are the reason for the Season and if we don’t share the message then we have failed our family and our friends. Give us a Luke-like heart Father. In Jesus name, Amen.