Written By Leslie Koh, Singapore
Ah, it’s Christmas!
A perfect time to mark a significant date with brothers and sisters in Christ.
A perfect time to share the gospel and tell people about the love of God that sent His Son down to earth to save us from our sins.
And a perfect time NOT to…
…insist that every decoration must contain the “true meaning of Christmas”
Understandably, you get incensed when you see yuletide celebrations turned into a sordid commercial affair. But please don’t insist that everyone include some form of the gospel in every single Christmas decoration, party, and card. Stop lamenting that “Christ is missing in Christmas”: He should be visibly present in your heart, in your behavior, and in everything you say and do—not on coffee cups and Christmas cards.
Forcing the message of Christmas down people’s throats and behaving like a culture police isn’t going to win anyone over to Jesus; in fact, it’ll more likely reinforce any perceptions that Christians are intolerant, dogmatic, and narrow-minded. Rather, be humble in your approach and attitude, just as the Son of God arrived in the most humble of circumstances. Show God’s love in your changed life, caring actions, and encouraging words—that’s the true message of Christmas.
…become an exemplary, loving Christian on 25 December… and go back to your usual grumpy self the day after
Of course, you’d want to be on your best behavior when there’s an extra load of visitors in church, and to be especially welcoming to non-believers who you hope will be touched by God’s love. But that should be true on 26 December. And 27 December. And every single day after. It’s all very well to become an exemplary Christian on Christmas, when the eyes of the world are on believers and watching to see how you behave. But they’re watching you every day too, to see how you live, work, play as a Christian.
It’s highly likely that more people than usual turn to God during the Christmas season, thanks to the more-than-usual number of evangelistic skits, concerts, and outreach programmes. But what will they think when they come to church the next Sunday and see all the same Christians suddenly turn cold and retreat to their exclusive cell groups?
…make Christmas celebrations a Christian-only affair
Yes, Christians have more reason to be happy about Christmas than most, and more in common when they celebrate it. It’s tempting to give fellow Christians bigger gifts or that knowing “WE know what Christmas is REALLY about” look. But you see, Jesus came to save everyone. His arrival is a happy, momentous occasion for all men, not just those who believe in Him. Your mission is to (gently, lovingly) introduce Him to those who don’t know this yet. And you won’t succeed if you keep non-Christians out of Christmas.
While we’re on the subject, it’s understandable if you’re extra busy this season, what with the church skit, evangelistic concerts, and all. Just take care that you don’t get so caught up with the preparations that you forget to make time for the very people you want to reach out to!
…become a fiery Bible-thumping evangelist at every opportunity
Well, of course you should take every opportunity to share the gospel and be a witness. That’s our Great Commission, after all. But you don’t need to deliver a fire-and-brimstone sermon at every Christmas party, putting on a serious face as you lecture all and sundry about why they should confess their sins this Christmas. After all, we’re here to share the Good News, not the Rather Serious And Depressing News.
Be happy! Show your friends that you truly have the joy of the Lord in your life—that’s the best testimony you can give about God’s presence in you. Enjoy yourself at gatherings, fellowship with everyone, and make new friends—that’s the best witness you can give about God’s love for all men. Remember, Christmas is ultimately about God’s love, mercy, and grace. Let’s not throw these out as we share the true story of the season.
…lament about how the Christmas really wasn’t on 25 December, and how everything about Christmas is all wrong
Surprised? Yes, it probably wasn’t. The shepherds were guarding their flocks out in the fields; more likely, they wouldn’t have done it in the middle of winter. But we’ll never really know when exactly Jesus was born. Yes, you can share this interesting fact, as a way to draw curious folks into a conversation about Christmas… and Jesus. But there’s no need to be the pedantic wet blanket and lament about how everyone’s celebrating Christmas all wrong. You don’t really mind when your birthday party is celebrated on a convenient weekend before or after the real date, do you?
Yes, a lot of things about the way Christmas is celebrated today aren’t ideal. And some traditions are, well, just traditions. But it doesn’t matter; what is important is that this season gives you a chance to share the Greatest News of all.
Click here to view “Editor’s Picks: Top 5 Articles | Giving“