You have probably received an invitation to a party or a dinner with R. S. V. P. on it, and like me, you have probably forgotten to respond. There are many ways to be rude to another person, but not RSVPing probably ranks pretty high. My wife is so diligent about this that when she opens an invitation, she immediately calls or puts the invitation by the telephone so she doesn’t forget to respond (If you have ever planned a party or a dinner, you know how important it is to know how many are coming!)
R. S. V. P. is from a French phrase, “Répondez s'il vous plait.” It literally means “respond if you please.” I am not an Emily Post expert by any means, but this phrase is asking for a response, either accepting or declining.
God has sent us an invitation with an R. S. V. P. on it, and Christmas is the big reminder of this invitation. In a few weeks we will gather on Christmas morning and open presents, gather with family and friends for a special meal, and perhaps even go to a church service on Christmas Eve. But regardless of all our activities, each of us will accept or reject the invitation from God which Christmas offers.
The message of Christmas is that God entered the human race in the form of a baby. This baby would grow up and become an important teacher and healer of his day. He would die on a Roman cross after receiving the death penalty for blasphemy (claiming to be God), and would be buried in a rock tomb. Three days later Jesus would be resurrected and would appear to hundreds of people proclaiming forgiveness of sins and a right relationship with God to all those who were willing to acknowledge their sins, accept his forgiveness, and yield their wills to follow him as Lord and Savior.
The apostle Paul describes it this way: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast”(Ephesians 2:8,9; NIV). The Apostle John describes it this way: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God” (John 1:12; NIV).
This incredible gift from God requires a response, an R. S. V. P. Jesus said it like this: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20; NIV). He is knocking at the door of your heart and your life. He knocks and knocks until you open the door which only you can open. He doesn’t force the door down or barge into your life. He just knocks and knocks until he gets a response – either acceptance or rejection of the invitation.
When a person accepts his invitation, he grants that person forgiveness of their sins, peace with God and from God, and the indwelling Presence of Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit who literally takes up residence in one’s life (Acts 2:38).Jesus has issued you an invitation. Have you RSVPed?