Want to hear a sad fact? This Christmas, hundreds of people across the country will be eating at Denny’s Restaurant instead of at the home of a loved one. Don’t misunderstand me; there is nothing wrong with the variety of food that they can enjoy at Denny’s. In fact, they can find multiple combinations of food on the menu at any Denny’s Restaurant from coast to coast. And, the refills of coffee are always for free. But one thing they won’t find on the menu is something to cure their loneliness and something to put hope into their heart.
We ask the question; “WWJD?” Personally, I think that Jesus would go to Denny’s over some high faluting party. Jesus spent time with the down and outer; the prostitutes, the social outcasts; the ones who had something bad happen to them and made wrong choices.
Part of our ‘mission’ here on this earth is to let people know the hope of His calling (Ephesians 1:18). People spending Christmas at Denny’s need the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And Jesus may be calling some of you to go to Denny’s.
I never come to Christmas without thinking about the thousands of people who are lonely, diseased, and troubled at this time of year.
Christmas is a reminder from God Himself that we are not alone. Isaiah said, “His Name shall be called ‘Immanuel’ (which means ‘with us (is) God’). God revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus a reconciling love which rescues people from separation and loneliness.
Jesus came on that night that we call Christmas to be born, to live, to be put to death, and to be raised from the dead to save people from their sins. As great as doctors are today, they cannot treat sin. As great as psychiatrists are, they can only treat the symptoms, maybe even help a patient live with their problems, but they can not treat sin.
When the angel appeared the Mary, mother of Jesus, to proclaim His coming birth, Mary was told that she would bring forth a Son and His name would be called Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Heaven and earth rejoiced together because that day a Savior was born, Jesus Christ, the only One who could save them from despair. Christmas is a time of renewed hope; hope that in spite of all of our bungled mistakes, God can bring order out of chaos.
The Christmas message tells us that God’s grace is greater than our sin. The sin issue was settled at the cross on which was hung Jesus Christ. That is the gift that we celebrate on Christmas day. The Christmas message has not changed in over 2000 years; God is still with us. And that is what the people who will be spending their Christmas at Denny’s NEED to hear! And some one has to tell them; perhaps you?
Most of us will be spending the day rejoicing with family and loved ones rather than at Denny’s. But, have you ever noticed that when we spend time with our loved ones who don’t know the Lord, we act like we’ve been preserved in lemon juice?!? My friends, we have been given so much. We need to be grateful for all that God has bestowed upon us. This is a day to rejoice!
If Jesus was going to go to the family gatherings rather than Denny’s, my guess is that He would join in the celebration. Jesus wouldn’t sit around looking like He was drinking lemon juice, He would be rejoicing and sharing love! Jesus knows the Father’s love! Jesus knows the Christmas message! We as Believers also need to love as though we know this message, instead of looking as though we hate being with our families because ‘they aren’t saved’. We need to let our lives show that we know the One who died for all sinners and rejoice and laugh and love those whom we are spending time with (see Romans 12:9-21).
This Christmas is a great time to be ‘mission-centered’ and reach out to those in our world. For some, it will be at Denny’s, for some it will be with our families. We are all called to be ambassadors as though God were pleading through us (2 Corinthians 5:20). My prayer is that God will show each one of us how and to whom He would like us to reach out this Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season.
CHRISTMAS AT DENNY’S®
They got Christmas Muzak® piped in through the ceiling
And the refills of coffee are always for free
And the waitress on graveyard and the surly night manager
Are wishing that all of us losers would leave
There’s a star on the sign at the Texaco® Station
Like the star long ago on that midnight clear
As I look all around at these cold, empty faces
I doubt that you’d find many wise men here
And I’m dreaming about A silent night – Holy Night
When things were alright and I’m dreaming about
How my life could have been if only, if only, if only
But somewhere down the road I gave up that fight
Merry Christmas – It’s Christmas at Denny’s tonight
Once I had a home and a wife and a daughter
Had a company job earning middle-class pay
Then Lisa got killed by a car near the schoolyard
And my wife started drinking just to get through each day
I will never forget that little red wagon
Turning to rust all alone in the rain
One morning I flagged down a truck on the highway
I just couldn’t bear to go back there again