by Otis T. McMillan
Normally, outreach evangelistic efforts and discipleship training are put on hold doing the busy holiday season. However, it is the perfect time to share your faith. Most people enjoy festive occasions with food, fun, laugher, and fellowship. Often churches participate in various kinds of outreach project, while ignoring the Christ of Christmas.
One Christmas, a boy asked his father, “Daddy, what does ignore mean?” The father explained it meant not to pay attention to someone. Immediately, the boy responded, “I don’t think we should ignore Jesus.” Puzzled, the father replied, “I don’t either.” Then the boy explained, “But that’s what the Christmas carol says: O come let us ignore Him.”
If there is anyone for whom that should not be true, it’s the one who believes in Jesus Christ. As the holiday season approaches, we should say with the wise men, “We…have come to worship Him” (Matt. 2:2). What better way to worship Christ than to use the holiday season to reach out to those for whom He came to die?
The holiday season is loaded with opportunities. It’s a time when, as Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, said, “We don’t have to pray for opportunities; we need to pray for boldness to use the opportunities we have.” Here are four opportunities we can’t ignore:
Think about demonstrating appreciation. The holiday season lends itself to expressing gratitude to the people who have meant much to you throughout the year. It is a good time to pick up the phone or write a letter to tell them so. Don’t forget the postal worker, school teacher, nurse, office receptionist, grocery store person, and the many others who have reason to feel that they and their services are so easily taken for granted. Don’t feel apologetic about your spiritual interest as sincere references to it will cause some people with whom the Holy Spirit is working to open up and talk.
Think about Comforting the hurting. Many are discouraged because work schedules prevent their celebrating Christmas with their families, while others find it hard to smile because of the financial pressures associated with the season. Others are particularly lonely because a family member has died since last Christmas. All you have to do is show yourself to be a warm, caring person and watch God honor that compassion. Many people come to Christ in the midst of a change, whether it be loss of a mate, health problems, or job change.
Think more global and multicultural. The recent influx of international students and diverse families in our communities provides a golden opportunity to explain our customs and introduce them to the One who wants to be everyone’s Savior. Many of them may celebrate Christmas differently in their culture, or not at all, and may be curious about American customs.
Think about Including others. Are you going to a shopping mall or to a tree farm to cut your own Christmas tree? Is your church having a special Christmas service? Is your school having a Christmas play? Sponsoring a neighborhood Christmas party? These are all exciting opportunities to invite a non-Christian to participate with you. Even if a discussion about the gospel is not possible at that time, sharing holiday activities provides a bridge for later discussion.
Let’s not ignore Him—let’s adore Him by letting unbelievers know that God shook the world with the birth of His Son. Should someone you know trust Him as Savior, it will be the most unforgettable Christmas you will ever have. Just a little food for thought!