Good news! Christians have apparently won the Christmas culture wars. Actually, 2010 appears to be the year the white flag of surrender is flying high.
According to those who keep track of such things, the percent of retailers who use the word “Christmas” in their advertising this year has reached an impressive 80%. That’s off a low of only 20% five years ago.” “Merry Christmas” is back in vogue, at least for a season, and Christmas trees are no longer called “family trees” at Lowe’s.
But I also have bad news for you, as well. Whether or not the word “Christmas” appears in retailers’ banners, ads, packaging and assorted other mercenary efforts to make a buck using the name of Christ, it’s still entirely possible for those who don’t know Jesus to go through the month of December and never have the REAL meaning of the Christmas Season unveiled to them, regardless of whether it’s being called "The Holidays" (root word "Holy Day") or "Christmas" (root word "Christ").
That’s where we come in!
As followers of Jesus, we are privileged to unveil the REAL story of Christmas everywhere we go this festive time of year. There’s no better time to share the story of God reaching down and entering human history in the form of Jesus.
So how exactly should you go about bringing up the message of the gospel at Christmas time?
That’s a difficult question to answer. NOT because there are no easy answers, but instead because there are hundreds of possible answers. The opportunities are practically endless. Here are a few conversation opening questions for you to select from for use with those in your life who don’t know Jesus:
• Has anyone ever explained to you the real reason behind all the hoopla surrounding this time of year? Why exactly Jesus came to earth?
• Did you know Jesus was born as a babe in Bethlehem because God wants a relationship with you? …Can I explain to you how what started on that first Christmas unfolded in Jesus’ life and changed the course of history forever? …Did you know that what Jesus came to earth to do is still available today to anyone open to His free gift?
• Did you know that Jesus didn’t come to Earth to start a religion? ...He came to restore our relationship with God.
• What’s your opinion about how gift-giving got to be such a focus of Christmas? ...Can I share with you what I believe?
• What do you think the real meaning of Christmas is? ...Can I share with you what I believe?
• Has anyone every explained to you why the angels declared, “Peace on Earth!” that first Christmas night? …Did you know you can have God’s peace in your life today?
Open an honest dialogue. Share His light and life in a dark world, using both words and deeds. Clearly explain the whole story of Jesus — what happened between God and man both before and after that first Christmas. The “good news of great joy” is that from the very beginning God has been longing to draw humans into a close, personal, trusting relationship with Him. But just like all people throughout history have chosen to turn away from God – we call that sin – and have disconnected from God, so have you and I. Still, God loved us with such a deep love that He designed a plan to bring us back into relationship with Him. That’s why Jesus came. God’s perfect and holy nature demanded a penalty be paid for our sins. So God’s loving plan to draw us back into His presence was to send His own perfect, sinless Son to die so that we don’t have to. If we put our faith and trust in Him, we can receive the free gift of eternal life. He will come into our lives and be with us forever, now, here on this earth, and also in heaven for all eternity.
There’s no better time of year to explain the gift Jesus came to give freely to all who will receive it. Give the greatest gift of all this season!