Christmas is almost here again!!Cards, Presents, Decorations, Parties, even Carol Singing. And so many people missing the point completely! They’ve thrown out the baby!!
This year let’s make a real effort to reclaim Christmas for Christ!!
There is no better time to share the gospel. No other time of year gives us more or better opportunities! The name of Jesus Christ is on everybody’s lips. The world is celebrating HIS Birthday. Jesus is the reason for the season! People are giving cards and presents without realising they are in honour of the first and greatest Christmas present of all, God’s gift of His Son Jesus Christ. It’s our job as Christians to tell people the real meaning of Christmas. Nobody else is going to tell them. And if we waste this opportunity then our friends and neighbours may never hear the Good News at all!!
So let me give you “10 ways I can share my faith this Christmas”. Simple obvious ideas of ways we can use the evangelistic opportunities Christmas offers us all. You probably already do some of these. All of us could try something new this year, something we haven’t done before to share the gospel at Christmas time.
Send Christian cards!
Make your own cards to send
Include a Christian greeting or verse or even a Christmas message or your own testimony.
To give you an idea of the kinds of cards which are available I have put a supply on the table at the back. Feel free to buy those which are there. If the ones you like have all gone write your name and how many you want and I will try to get some more for next week.
Videos / DVDs
CDs of Christian music – Cliff Richard!
The “More to Christmas” DVD cards as presents
More to Christmas DVD is a brilliant gift produced by Viz-a-Viz. It contains a Christmas video message and then a number of video testimonies of the difference Jesus has made in people’s lives. I will have come copies available for sale for just £1.25 each next week.
3. “Praying for you” cards
As Christians we know that prayer works! God answers prayer. And so it is good for us to offer to pray for our friends and neighbours. “Praying for you” cards are an easy way to do this. We simply give the card to our friend or neighbour as a way of saying, “We would like to pray for you. What would you like us to pray about?” Over the course of 2011 we will be delivering these cards across North Springfield. But we can start offering to pray for people NOW by slipping these cards inside any Christmas cards we are giving to our work colleagues or friends or neighbours. Of course you can send these cards inside any Christmas cards you are posting to your friends and relations as well. But the idea is to open up opportunities to pray for people and to talk about Jesus. So do take as many cards as you like and use them as you believe is best.
– make yours Christian!!!
Christian poster in window – posters available at the back
Lights?? (Not plastic wise men!) / Badges / Christian symbols / car stickers
If you do not do so already, start wearing a badge or piece of jewellery or use a car sticker or an ornament to “advertise” that you are a Christian.
5. Party time
Anything from a cup of tea and a mince pie to a dinner party
One step at a time – don’t have to invite neighbours you’ve never spoken to before to a six course dinner – but there’s no better time than Christmas to break the ice by inviting them over for a coffee some time. Tis the season to be jolly. It’s allowed!!
Invite your minister or your Christian friends along to meet some of your neighbours and not yet Christian friends.
Share your Christmas dinner with a friend who would be alone
THINGS YOU COULD DO AS A HOME GROUP
• A Christmas party where everyone invites a non-Christian friend or two – with an epilogue.
• A video evening for guests to watch a good Christian video. Personally I recommend the Muppet’s Christmas Carol
• Door to door leaflet delivery or carol singing or visiting in pairs of everybody’s neighbours.
6. Carol singing
I read something very revealing the other day.
“For many people, carols conjure up the almost forgotten magical, white Christmases of our childhood, exciting presents and a simple belief in the mystery of Christmas.”
That’s true. What’s more, many people know more words from Carols than they do from any other Christian hymns or songs. Carols contain the message of the gospel – and they are already being played in shops and shopping centres. What better way of starting a conversation about Jesus than the words of well-known carols:
Hark! The herald angels sing: ‘Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!’
He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable, And His cradle was a stall:
With the poor and meek and lowly Lived on earth our Saviour holy
Words most of our friends and neighbours already know – but don’t understand.
We should take every opportunity to use carols to help people find out about Jesus Christ this Christmas.
O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant,
O come, let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
What does it mean to call Jesus “Christ the Lord”? Let me explain it to you!
Why did those three Kings bring such strange gifts? Let me tell you what really happened!
‘All glory be to God on high And on the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to men Begin and never cease.’
How can I know peace in my life? Let me share the secret with you.
We will be singing carols outside the Havengore shops on Saturday 18th December between 12.30 and 2.30.
We will have our usual Christingle service at 4 pm on the Sunday before Christmas and Family Celebration Services on Christmas Day and Boxing Day mornings at 10.30 as usual. And then this year we will have a new event on Thursday 16th December at 7.30 pm:-
Carols and Cake – an hour of singing your favourite carols and enjoying delicious cake, with stalls of Christian cards, books, gifts and FairTrade items to remind us of the real meaning of Christmas. Carols and cake will be the perfect event to invite your friends and neighbours to – not a service, just singing carols and eating cake
Of course we want to invite everybody to join in these events with us and this year we have produced these Christmas cards for every house in North Springfield. They give this Christmas picture, and details of all our Christmas events. But they also have a Christmas message inside and an invitation to our services in the New Year, as well as website addresses and telephone numbers. It will be a huge effort to deliver all these leaflets before our Carols and Cake evening, but I am sure it will be worth it! Unfortunately they are stuck on a ship somewhere in the North Sea at the moment and not ready for us to take to deliver this morning. But they will be available this week – speak to Jenny or myself if you want to offer to deliver to particular roads.
7. It’s CHRISTmas
Not X-mas – not X the unknown in some equation we have to solve, not X something mysterious and scary from the X-files, not X a mistake we’ve crossed out.
It’s not X-mas, it’s CHRISTmas!!!– there wouldn’t be a Christmas without Christ –
Santa Claus never died for anybody’s sins!!
The example of the way you celebrate
Keep Christ at the Centre of Christmas yourself
Grace at Christmas dinner!
Make church your priority at Christmas
The kinds of presents you give and expect
How we behave at the office party.
8. Think of others
Think about other people this Christmas – neighbours, friends
Offer your friends practical help in house, garden, babysitting. So you’ve never done anything nice for them before – that’s OK, it’s Christmas! Neighbours are allowed to be nice to each other at Christmas!
Start this morning! Make new friends in the church – talk to somebody you don’t know today!
9. Talk about Jesus
Gossip the gospel
Take every opportunity to tell people the real meaning of Christmas.
Tell your friends how much you are enjoying our Christmas services and events! Tell them that good story the preacher told. Give them a tape of a sermon that has helped you.
Seasons Greetings – see if you can find something better to say to everybody than “Happy Christmas”. Be brave! You could try “Peace be with you” or “God Bless you this Christmas time!” You’re allowed to be religious! It’s Christmas!
Be ready to share your faith! We need to be ready to answer people’s questions. “How did you become a Christian?” “What difference does being a Christian make to your life?
At Christmas we need to be ready to answer questions like “What does Christmas mean to you?” or “Do you really believe in the Virgin Birth?”
for your friends
Always talk to God about your friends before you talk to your friends about God.
Offer to pray for your non-Christian friends for anything they may need.
Pray for opportunities to talk about Jesus this Christmas
If you don’t do anything else this year, pray day after day for opportunities to share your faith over the Christmas period. When God answers those prayers the results could be amazing!!
The world has forgotten the real meaning of Christmas. Shops and restaurants and television have hijacked Christmas. Let’s do our best to reclaim this Christmas for Christ.
Did you ever see the film “Dead Poets Society”. Robin Williams plays a talented but eccentric teacher in an exclusive private school. On the first day of the year, he takes his class of boys out into the hallway to look at the pictures of past, now dead, graduates of the school. He wants to motivate his pupils to learn and excel:
“We are food for worms, Lads! Believe it or not each and every one of us in this room one day will stop breathing, turn cold, and die. Step forward and see these faces from the past. They were just like you are now. They believe they’re destined for great things. Their eyes are full of hope. But, you see, gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. If you listen real close, you will hear them whisper their legacy to you. Lean in. What do you hear?” Then Robin Williams, in an erie grave-like voice, quotes the poet Horace, “Carpe Diem! Seize the day boys, seize the day!”
Carpe diem! Not as some would translate it, fish of the day or seize the fish. But seize the day! NOW is the time for every one of us to play our part in sharing the gospel. NOW is the time to find the courage to invite that friend or neighbour to come along to a Christmas event. NOW is the time to take a share of delivering special invitation cards around the town. NOW is the time to pray and to witness. Don’t waste the special opportunities this month is giving us! NOW is the time to seize the day!
Seize the Day – Christmas Day. God calls us to reclaim Christmas Day for Christ. And here are 10 obvious simple ways we can do it!
3. “Praying for you” cards
5. Party Time
6. Carol Singing
7. It’s CHRISTmas
8. Think of others
9. Talk about Jesus
How many of these things are YOU going to do this Christmas?