I love Christmas. It’s a wonderful time to be together with my family, reflect on the past year, and – most of all – remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, who came to earth to save mankind.
For Christians, the virgin birth of Jesus is a wonderful miracle as God humbled Himself and left the heavenly realm to walk among us. For many non-believers, however, this can be a stumbling block. Many have a hard time fathoming what the Bible says about Christ’s arrival.
As you spend time with your loved ones this Christmas season, you may be asked about – or have the opportunity to share – the miracle of Christ’s birth. Be sensitive to the fact that God may use this to open the door for you to share your faith with those who don’t know Christ as Savior.
1) Be prepared to explain Christ’s birth and your faith in very basic terms – Often we tend to take the simple message of the Gospel and make it more complicated than it really is. We use certain words or phrases that people in the church understand, but that leave others scratching their heads in confusion. Instead, I encourage you to find a more basic way to relate to those who haven’t heard the Good News.
For instance, my grandfather, Billy Graham, once shared the story of walking along a road and stepping on an ant hill. As he looked down, he saw the ants rolling over, scattering here and there, some dead from the weight of his frame. If only, he thought, I could become an ant for just a moment, I could help them. He then went on to explain that this is how it is with God, who became man in the form of Jesus Christ.
This isn’t an overly theological analogy, but it’s one that non-Christians could understand. As believers we realize that since Jesus was also fully God, He knew no sin, and thus could not have been born of a sinful man. However, explaining it from an earthly perspective, such as the story of the ant hill, may help communicate this profound miracle.
2) Look at the big picture – Understand that many find the virgin birth hard to comprehend, and you may find it hard to explain. Try not to get bogged down, and keep an eye on the big picture. Yes, Jesus was born of a virgin, but there’s much more to the Book. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV).
As my grandfather has said, “Christmas was just the beginning. Ahead was the cross and beyond the cross was the empty tomb. The cradle, the cross and the crown all go together if we’re to understand Christ and the difference He can make in our lives.”
The reason that Christ came in the first place was to take our sins upon Himself, go to the cross and conquer the grave. We – in our brokenness – needed a Savior to bridge the gap between our sinfulness and the perfection of God. Stand on the promise of the risen Savior!
3) Be loving and compassionate – When you discuss the virgin birth of Christ and share your faith, do so out of love and compassion. Understand that some find this and other miracles hard to believe. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NIV). Further, 2 Timothy 2:24-25 states, “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth.” (NIV).
People may not understand what you are trying to tell them, or, frankly, they may be resentful or antagonistic as you try to share the hope that you have in Christ this Christmas. Don’t be discouraged or offended. Trust that God is using you, and He will work with the seed that you planted through the discussion.
4) Be available – Often an initial discussion is not the end of the conversation, especially for someone who is genuinely seeking the Lord. Long ago, we at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association learned that a major component of any Crusade outreach is the follow-up after the proclamation of the Gospel. After you have shared your faith, make yourself available to answer other questions your friend may have in the coming days and weeks. Proactively follow up with your friend to see if he or she has “digested” what you discussed and would like to talk more.
Yes, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ can be hard to explain and understand, but God will give you the words to say and will work through you. Just make yourself available, watch for opportunities that He presents, and allow Him to do the rest.