At The Briefing, Sandy Grant offers helpful suggestions for getting the most out of Christmas gathering and worship for those who’ll be home, and for those on the road.
Here are a few rough and ready suggestions I jotted up for our church about “making the most of every opportunity” (Col 4:5 NIV) for the gospel from the Christmas season.
1. If you are going away from home, do your best to get to a good, gospel preaching church. Then, if possible invite any friends or family you are staying with or near. This tells them that being in church with God’s people to celebrate the coming of Christ is even more important to you than your highest earthly loyalties (namely family), and certainly more important than hedonism!
2. If your relatives go to a church which does not preach the biblical Christ very clearly, give consideration as to whether it is better for the sake of the relationships to accompany them, or whether it is better for the sake of the gospel to politely indicate that you will attend another church (which does preach Jesus clearly), and then see them afterwards. Either way, good conversations may arise, as you share your perspective on what you experienced at church at Christmas.
3. If you are staying local, think about whom you could invite to your church at Christmas. Friends, family members, neighbours? A ‘light touch’ invitation, using the church’s Christmas ‘postcard’, or emailing/Facebooking a PDF invite or a link to your church’s Christmas service webpage may reap rewards… ”Have you thought about church this Christmas? Would you like to come with us?” Of course, it’s fine if people say ‘no’ as it’s a often a very busy time of year.
4. Even better if you have time to link your invitation to church with Christmas drinks or a meal before or afterwards.
5. Even if it’s not appropriate to invite to church, or your invitations to church are unsuccessful, extending hospitality for friends or neighbours around Christmas (after as well as before) can be well received. And it’s not that hard to get conversations going with a question like “What’s some of your best Christmas memories?” Just make sure you have a good ‘gospel-bite’ to include among your favourite memories.
6. If you are more or less on your own, for whatever reason, consider inviting international students and/or some others in a similar basket whom you know are away from their usual connections, for a meal sometime over the festive period.
7. Pray. Pray with joy at the goodness of God in sending Christ as Emmanuel – “God with us” – to save us from our sins (Matt 1:21,23). Pray specifically for those you plan to invite: before we invite, for their openness; during all Christmas services that the gospel would be clearly proclaimed; and afterwards, for God to work in the hearts of those who do come. (HT: St Helen’s Bishopsgate).
From The Briefing.