The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I love the decorations, the traditions, and of course, the music. My home is starting to fill with gifts, and songs praising our newborn king can be heard at any time of the day.
When I was involved in college campus ministry, one of the phrases I’d often hear during this season was “Christmas is an easy invite.” And during normal years, yes, it is easy to invite someone to attend a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service with you. I have often brought my sisters (who do not yet belong to a church) to my hometown church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service. But this year, these services may have transitioned to a new virtual approach, so how do you attend with someone who isn’t in your household? Sending them a link with the service just doesn’t feel the same (as great as that may be).
This year, instead of inviting someone to church, invite him or her into a conversation about the Christmas story and biblical narrative.
Be the Guide
We must remind ourselves always that it is not our job to change another person’s mind. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. So we must not go into conversations with the notion that we are going to be the one to convert the other person. We must be authentic in our conversations—not wanting people to become involved in our churches for some made-up, potential “Jesus points” that we think will show our value to the rest of our congregation. Pray that the Lord would give you the right words to say and that His heart for people would be shown through you.
I find that starting conversations like this is easy for this particular holiday. Ask people about their lives and how they are adapting their own holiday traditions to this unusual season. Ask for their thoughts on your plans or on the holidays in general. This can open up the door to sharing how you find hope during hard times like the ones we are in now.
Our Place in His Story
One of the best parts of the Christmas season is that it gives us a peek at where the biblical narrative is headed and shows us our place in God’s salvation plan. We can trace the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11) back to Adam and then forward to Jesus and, through Jesus, to us. We see in Christmas that God’s plan often doesn’t fit with our expectations but that there is such great beauty in His plan. While many Israelites expected a political king, God sent a baby boy, born to a soon-to-be-wed mother and delivered in a stable.
This year hasn’t been what we expected, but God knows what will happen next. And we know He has experienced the pain we feel now in our own struggles.
We need the hope found in Christ more than ever. I truly don’t know how I would have felt peace during this tumultuous year without Him. We are called to spread the Gospel and in that give an answer for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). This unusual Christmas season, do so knowing the Holy Spirit is with you and by using authentic connections.
Help us send the story of Jesus to communities near and far.