It’s the Christmas holidays and there are nearly three weeks to go until Bible studies get back up and running. Lots of us will be away from London for some of that time, and that means being away from church and away from Christian mates.

Time away might be happy and relaxing, but for some of us it will be a tough time spiritually. Unbelieving families can make life as a Christian hard. Church at home isn’t always encouraging. We’re out of our routine and struggle to keep reading our Bible. We feel isolated and lonely. Whatever the reason, the holidays can feel like an exercise in Christian survival.

Here is one tactic (or truth) that, I’m praying, will help you survive the holiday onslaught: Know that you are a sheep and that you have the best Shepherd. His name is Jesus.

Keeping going as a Christian isn’t about personal survival. Rather it’s about letting Jesus do the job he wants to do, which is to be your (very) Good Shepherd.

What makes the Good Shepherd so good?

  • The Good Shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out (John 10:3)
  • The Good Shepherd is the door: if you enter by him you will be saved and go in and out and have pasture (John 10:9)The Good Shepherd has come so that you may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10)
  • The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11)
  • The Good Shepherd doesn’t flee when a wolf comes to snatch the sheep (John 10:12)
  • The Good Shepherd knows his sheep (John 10:27)
  • The Good Shepherd gives his sheep eternal life (John 10:28)
  • The Good Shepherd will never let his sheep perish, and no one will snatch them out of his hand (John 10:28)

How does this help when your family make you feel worthless because you follow Jesus? You have a Good Shepherd who thinks you’re so valuable that he willingly laid down his life for you.

How does this help you when you feel alone? You have a good shepherd who knows you and has called you by name, and whose voice you recognise. Listen to him (which means crack open your Bible and have a decent read of, among other things, John 10).

How does this help you when your mates want you to do something you know you’ll regret? He will never let anything snatch you out of his hand. You know his voice; you just have to follow. He’ll lead you into safe pasture.

I could keep going, but you get the idea. When things are hard this Christmas don’t give up. Listen to the Shepherd and enjoy the great blessing of hearing his voice. See you in January.

Image: Bill Boaden (Creative Commons)