Christmas is a weird time for Christians. We spend the whole year trying to get Jesus on the agenda, and then before our eyes the mass-media machine has hijacked him, and turned him into a sales tool.
For many years I resented Christmas. Maybe it was because I had a repressed episode with a ‘bad Santa’ somewhere in my childhood.
Or, more likely, it was the fact that every man and his reindeer seemed to want to own Christmas, when I felt they really had no right to. Christmas is for Christians, not pagans. It’s about baby Jesus who grew to a man, who died for our sins. Not some Westfield pageant.
But, I was wrong. Christmas is a profound opportunity to find common ground with a society which has, remarkably, continued to adopt this religious symbol as a common denominator for its primary festive season.
Yes, they might be saying that Jesus is all about presents (not life), but at least they’re talking about him, and (some of the time) singing about him.
So, this means that Christmas is vital to the life and times of our ministry. We’re nuts if we don’t jump on board this annual media frenzy and redeem all that is evil.
But here is the extra problem. We want to make our Christmas events evangelistic. We want to use them to preach the good news to those who know little, if anything, about the practical implications of knowing (and not knowing) Jesus.
Yet, in the process, we often miss the opportunity to remind those in Christ about the profound miracle of the incarnation, and its impact upon our life and ministry. If we’re not careful, we’ll turn Christmas into a strictly evangelistic event, and miss the opportunity to blow the minds of believers about this stunning event.
So, how can we do both? How can we minister to believers about the profound impact of the incarnation, whilst also ministering to unbelievers about the need to worship the baby who grew to the man who died to save the world?
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