I’m almost upset with myself for writing this before it’s even Thanksgiving, but it’s not up to me to decide what’s trending… (Truth be told, this is about a week too late! :))
Okay, time to add in my 2 cents… I have some suggestions on how we can put the Christ back in Christmas. They are broken into two categories. First I will address Christians. That is, people who are trying to follow Jesus the best they can. Then I will address people who do not identify themselves as Christians or followers of Jesus.
To The Christians:
1. Pray For Our Brothers & Sisters Who Are Actually Being Persecuted. Man, am I bad at this one. I pretty much never do this. I take so much for granted living in the U.S. of A.There are people in other countries who are actually being persecuted for what they believe. Places where it’s dangerous and even deadly to be a Christian. This Christmas season I want to do a better job of praying for them…
2. Be The Hands & Feet of Jesus. Remember what Jesus told His disciples the night before He was put to death.
“A new command I give you: Trick Starbucks baristas into writing Merry Christmas on your cup by lying about what your name is.”
Oh, wait, that wasn’t it. It was actually:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
How about we show people what we believe by how we treat them? How about we buy a stranger who’s hungry a meal and a cup of coffee, instead of complaining about what’s on (or not on) the cup?
See, the church right now has something in common with the first century church. They were both looked at as being crazy, but for different reasons. In the first century, people scratched their heads and said, “Man, those people have some weird beliefs, but look how much they love, sacrifice, and give.” Unfortunately, we’re not known for the latter as much anymore.
3. Reflect Inwardly. Advent is a great time for Christians to ponder why we believe what we believe. I’ve been writing scripts for December BCLs and it’s been really great to go back and look at these stories that have become so familiar to us. The story of a girl who had the course of her whole life altered drastically, but trusted God’s plan for her life. The story of how God stepped in to save people who were hopeless. Completely hopeless.
Our Big Idea in BCL for December is Advent: Preparing to Receive The Gift of Jesus. I forget far too often how great of a gift Jesus is. Advent is a great time to reflect quietly on that truth.
4. Invite A (Real) Friend To Christmas Eve Service. Now, don’t mishear me. I’m not saying that Christians should keep quiet about our faith. I am saying that everything we do should be clothed in love. I believe Christmas is a great time to invite our friends to church… Assuming we have a genuine relationship with them. Getting to know someone’s story takes time and requires us to listen more than we talk. Our motivation must be simply to love that person. When a relationship is build on mutual trust, inviting a friend to church doesn’t seem nearly as strange as simply handing someone a tract without ever knowing their name. Even if they say no, I doubt they’ll be angry or offended by your invite. And Christmas Eve services are great because (hopefully) they are centered on Who we’re all about – Jesus.
Okay, now a word to people who do not identify themselves as Christians or followers of Jesus. Obviously, I would love it if one day you put your trust in Jesus. But I don’t think you should be forced, threatened, manipulated, or cajoled into it. If, however, you would like to know why I believe the Christmas story, I’d love to sit down with you and chat. Perhaps at Starbucks, with red cups in hand (though I normally get a frap)…
So here is my list for you:
1. Watch Jingle All The Way. It’s the best Christmas movie!