Christmas: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year to Share Jesus!
Although I would not admit it publicly, down deep inside I had been lulled into thinking that Christmas revolved around family, festivities, and Jesus’ birth. Oh, I would do all the outward Christian Christmas duties: attend services, give to the red kettle, and if it were really needed I would serve in the nursery. But all of these were a precursor for the food-overloaded, family-focused Christmas. It was an event in Knoxville, Tenn. that messed up my self-absorbed mindset.
A church had rented out the Thompson Boling Arena for a Christmas show that would occur three consecutive days with 8 performances. Until then, I had thought that Christmas “Cantatas” included a few carols, some cheesy humor, and of course, a live camel. This group asked me to preach the Gospel at the conclusion of the show and offer an invitation for people to respond. Seriously? Who would respond during a Christmas show? Again, at the risk of being vulnerable, I really had succumbed to the idea of Christmas being commercialized to the point of no return. By the time the weekend was over, 1200 plus people had responded to the invitation. I was forever changed into thinking that Christmas really is the “Most wonderful time of the year” … to share Jesus!
Who will you invite? According to Thom Rainer, CEO of Lifeway, Christmas Eve services have by far the most non-churched people in attendance than any church service throughout the year. It makes sense. During Christmas, people want to connect with community. This could be a result of the constant reminder of family and community connected to Christmas. Maybe it is a result of childhood memories of Christmases past, or the barrage of advertising showing groups of people gathering for Christmas celebrations. In any case, I hope every church will not only conduct Christmas Eve services, but will also include a clear presentation of the meaning of Christmas and offer an opportunity for participants to “Call upon the name of the Lord to be saved” (Romans 10:13). Encourage your pastor and staff to make it a central theme of the service and bring non-churched friends and family members to the service. Some Churches offer tickets or reservations due to overwhelming demand for seats. Check early and often to get seats and fill them with people who are searching for “Hope.”
How can you share Christ outside of the church service? The opportunities are as endless as the list of Hallmark Christmas movies!
- Tell THE Story. Offer to share the meaning of Christmas during your office or class party. It isn’t a revival service, but in a sincere way you can share a brief explanation of why we celebrate Christmas and its true meaning. I have been invited to office parties to share the meaning of Christmas and every time I am overwhelmed by the positive response from attendees.
Every Christmas my wife’s family gathers around the Christmas tree for the reading of the Christmas story from Luke Chapter 2. It is a reminder that although the kids are ready to rip through the wrapping paper for their store-bought presents, the best gift was given through the birth of Christ (1 John 10:10 … I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.). Take the time to explain to those who gather around your tree the real reason for Christmas.
- Celebrate. One of our personal family favorites is the “Birthday Cake” for Jesus. When our children, Hunter and Hope, were young we started our Christmas morning with a birthday party for Jesus. If you think about it, it is HIS birthday! We would sing the song, pray, and then cut a special cake- usually a chocolate fudge pound cake. As they grew older, what was once a teaching lesson became a long-standing tradition!
- Give Thanks for THE Gift. If not careful, even Christians will fall prey to the secularization of our Savior’s birth. There is so much to do before “The Big Day” arrives that includes gifts, lights, food and family arriving for visits. In this whirlwind of commotion, you too will begin to wonder why is there all this fuss about one day. It is then we should stop and remember the real reason for the season. In the Christmastime favorite, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Linus recites Luke 2 under the spotlight to a silent crowd. At his conclusion, Linus says, “That’s what Christmas is all about.” Before you give one gift to anyone else this Christmas, thank God for giving you the greatest gift, His Son, Jesus.
The message of Christ can be summed up in the three gifts the wise men gave him- gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold was a gift given to a King. Frankincense is a gumming substance that was used in burning for worship (Exodus 30:34). Myrrh is a substance that was used during preparing for death. Gold was given because He is King of Kings. Frankincense was a gift to the Lord. Myrhh was the annointment for burial (as a sacrifice for our sins He bled, died and rose again. (1 Corinthians 15:3).
- Be Intentional. You will need to prepare your heart to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities God presents to share His life saving message. Most of the time the opportunities are present, but we don’t take advantage of them because we are not living in expectancy. Be ready. As I Peter 3:15 says “but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
- Pray. Ask the Lord to open doors for you to present the meaning of Christmas and for Him to prepare hearts to listen. As I grow older, I realize that I work like it depends on me, but I pray because I KNOW it depends on Him. Pray for your family. Pray for your friends. Pray for your community.
- Don’t Worry. The one thing you do not want to do is to become stressed out because you are trying to share Hope with others. Take a breath. Walking in joy and peace, will be attractive to others.
- Remember. On December 26, January 26, and every month in 2018, remember THE Gift we have been given. Like the Christmas tree the day after Christmas- bare and without gifts- a life without Christ is empty. We have an incredible Savior that can save anyone, anytime, anywhere. I encourage you to share the hope of Christ this Christmas and all year long!
Scott Dawson is the Staff Evangelist and Chief Development Officer for the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, www.scottdawson.org. He also developed www.strengthtostand.com into one of the largest student conferences in America. In addition to serving in ministry, Dawson is running for Governor of Alabama in 2018, www.scottdawson.com.