It was at church business meeting and the church was absorbed in a heated debate. I watched in amazement with a tinge of amusement. It was obvious from the pained looks on the brethren’s faces that this was an argument they replayed every single year.
“She said we can have a Christmas tree to put offerings on for the poor,” the elder shoots back. “I don’t see anyone doing that.”
Somehow, the aunties won, and the church was wreathed in Christmas from head-to-toe. This didn’t surprise me. Christmas won out in every church I have ever called home.
NEXT STEPS: Young Adult Ministry Training
Christmas is a point of contention for many Christians. Some are certain that Christmas is linked to a pagan holiday of Saturnalia. While others counter that the 25th of December comes to us from an ancient tradition that people died on the day of their conceptiontherefore their birth day would be nine months later. Even others link it to the ancient tradition that the sun triumphed over darkness during the winter solstice and Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, therefore it would be fitting that he be born at that time.
Granted, many of the Christmas festivities fly in the face of Adventist and even Christian principles. There is a shop ‘till you drop frenzy that is not in keeping with the principles of stewardship. Breaking every health principle in the book and pushing the limits of gluttony is almost entirely inevitable before a sumptuous feast. We might place ourselves in physical danger as we try to keep up with the Joneses and put those lights up at the top of the house. All the festivities often have us feeling like frazzled Martha’s snapping at those sitting at the feet of Jesus.
Yet despite the fact that gift giving, evergreen decorations and festive parties are probably stolen from the festival of Saturnalia, you should probably celebrate Christmas. Yes, you might shrink from touching this holiday laced with unclean pagan traditions, but think beyond that. Ponder on the ways you can apply Christ’s method to this season.
The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”
Here are four ways to do that:
Mingle with People
As millennials, we sometimes struggle with the idea of evangelism. What if Adventism doesn’t work for them?
The fact is we don’t know. We have to offer it to them so that they can find out. After knocking on so many doors as a Literature Evangelist, I have realized that many people are not content with the way they are living their lives and the Gospel message, the Adventist message in particular, comes as a breath of fresh air to them. However, many of those people don’t trust a random person showing up at their door. A neighbor, a friend, or a coworker would be much more effective.
There’s something about the Christmas spirit that make people more to open friendship. We should use this season as an excuse to share a plate of cookies with the neighbor and start a conversation. Jesus starts with a genuine connection. Reaching out because he truly desired their good. This is an opportunity we can use to do the same.
My favorite time of year to do literature evangelism is during the Christmas season. People are just so much more friendly and generous. Of course, copies of the Man of Peace or Desire of Ages sold like hotcakes.
Christmas is the perfect season to harness that generosity and direct it towards those who need it most. We can do this by organizing events and projects. Since we should be connecting with our community all year and we should know where the greatest needs are. Now, we can invite others to join us in service and generosity.
Not only do we get the opportunity to mingle with generous non-Adventist or non-Christian people who want to have a positive impact on their world, we can help meet the needs of our community. That’s another key part of the process of reaching people with the gospel.
Introduce the Reason
Another thing I learned about reaching out to people is they can’t be picked until they are ripe. Now, the Holy Spirit works on hearts at anytime of year. There are certain things that make people search more intently for God such as a death or a divorce. However, Christmas is one of those positive things that make people think about God. They are more likely to go to church and be interested in religious things. It’s the perfect season to share literature about Jesus and spark conversations. Perhaps, the Holy Spirit alerts you that a friend is ready for something more. Invite them to a special Christmas program at your local church. You can be the one to infuse more Jesus in the season.
God has given all the resources of heaven to save us. Evangelism is His project. We are just His helpers or co-laborers. If we join forces with Him as born-again Christians, we join in that great work of saving souls –giving them the opportunity to live meaningful and fulfilling lives. Along with Him, we take every opportunity we can to reach people with the good news of salvation. Isn’t that what the season is all about?
Show your loved ones affection through meaningful gifts if you like. Throw up some simple decorations if you’re feeling it. More importantly, take this season to spend more time reflecting on Jesus. Be intentional about making that the focus. Find ways to simplify. Host meaningful gatherings that bring people together. Sing about the time when God gave his only son to a world steeped in darkness. Reach out to those who might not have a home or a family to go to. Don’t exclude your enemies.
Maybe your one of the anti-Christmas folk and you can’t bear the thought of stringing lights on your house. Well, then don’t. Maybe you’re the auntie that can’t help but get into the Christmas spirit. Well, just don’t get carried away. Whatever side you stand the most important thing is to take the opportunity to be more intentional about sharing Jesus this season. He is the reason for the season after all.
– Loosely based on actual events
– That’s what we happened to call them in that church. You might call them sister or something of the like at your church