Reaching Out at Christmas
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The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.
What will you and I give for Christmas this year? Let us in our lives give to our Lord and Savior the gift of gratitude by living His teachings and following in His footsteps.—Thomas S. Monson
Is it just my imagination or is the Christmas season by far the craziest time of the year? There’s Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, Christmas lighting (as soon as you get all your leaves raked), Christmas plays, Christmas parties, Christmas cookies, Christmas photos, and Christmas TV specials. It feels like a 900 mph sleigh ride through a crowded mall. It’s lots of fun, but certainly not what Christmas is all about.
And I often find that others, even non-churchgoers, feel that way too. They know there is more to Christmas than a harried schedule. Maybe that’s why people are often so open when we invite them to our Christmas events. They want something more out of the season than a peppermint latte, sore feet, and a panic attack.
And because of Jesus, we have something more. As I often have to remind myself: people are more important than tasks! Consider ways to share the hope of the gospel with people during this season.
Christmas evangelism can happen with a little creative thinking. God is eager to give us opportunities if we think outside of our task list this Christmas. Let’s ask him to lead us!—Jim Donohue1
With the Christmas season beginning, we will likely be presented with numerous opportunities to talk to people about how the babe in the manger is a gift that can have great significance for them, right now, today. Because Christmas for many is little more than a secular, commercialized holiday, there is little to celebrate for the millions worldwide who grapple with increasing poverty, injustice, chaos, fear, and suffering. But there is hope; there can be awe-inspiring life transformation, which can bring strength and joy where there was none, and the will to keep going in hard times, when that will is almost gone.
As the world grows darker, the gift appears more valuable, and people who are looking for the Light will not be able to miss it. The Christian message of hope, that God’s power can keep us and that His love can overcome anything, becomes more appealing and relevant by the day, as events strip away people’s sense of security, worldly joys, and even daily necessities in many cases.
This Christmas let the message of hope ring in your heart and radiate from your life. At every opportunity let it beam from your face. As followers of Jesus who have given our lives to Him and have experienced His care, support, protection, and guidance in good times and bad, let’s proclaim the message that Jesus is our hope!
Spread the message this Christmas that there is an answer for those seeking truth and meaning. Tell whoever will listen about the reason for your joy. Tell them about the hope of the world that began with the birth of a little baby in a Bethlehem stable. Declare to them how God loved them so much that He took on a human body so that He could experience the life that we all face, unshielded from its hardships and upheavals. Tell them how He faced dire situations from the moment of His conception in a culture where an unwed mother faced being an outcast from society. He didn’t choose the easy path through life, because out of His love for us He wanted to fully experience the human existence: the immense difficulties as well as the joys.
Let’s take advantage of this Christmas season to celebrate how Jesus came to earth, God and man, to live a life as one of us. Let’s draw people in with His story, told not like some fairytale where all is pleasant and friendly, but as it really was. Tell them the story that shows the hardships that His earthly parents experienced. Tell them how time after time they were delivered from troubles and dangerous circumstances. Though it required being displaced and fleeing into exile, through these hard times they were unwittingly fulfilling the prophecies that defined His birth, His life, and ultimately His death and resurrection.
Let’s show people the unvarnished story of the Son of God, who faced incredible life-altering challenges and died a cruel death on the cross to save each one of us. Let’s give them hope in the midst of their troubles with the knowledge that God in the flesh, Jesus, experienced the full force of man’s inhumanity to man. That’s why He can be right here, a close friend who truly understands the hardships and fears we face in life. He wants to stay at our side, sustaining and upholding us through everything.
This Christmas, through our example and words, let’s show that hope exists and that abundant life is possible, through Jesus.—Maria Fontaine
Make it a time for service: Everyone knows the spirit of Christmas is giving. But the best gifts are often ones you can’t wrap in paper. They are gifts of service—where we offer our time, our talents, our connections, our ideas, or our energy to serve those in need around us.
Let me encourage you to do simple acts of kindness during this season. The end of the year is a hectic time, and everyone can use a helping hand at some point. It might be running an errand, picking up a package, offering to babysit, loaning some decorations, making phone calls for your church, or taking a meal to someone who is housebound.
Make it a time for joyful worship: The words we most associate with Christmas are worship terms: Rejoice! Celebrate! Joy! Praise! Give thanks! Peace on Earth! Certainly you’ll want to make time for worship as you thank God for His Christmas gift to you: He sent a Savior.
You can worship God during your everyday activities. You can do this by performing those activities as if you were doing them for God and carrying on a continual conversation with Him while you do them. And with Christmas carols playing just about everywhere—in malls, doctors’ offices, and elevators—you can worship almost anyplace if you allow the words of those songs to sink into your mind: “Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”
Make it a time for cheerful sharing: During the Christmas season, you’ll find that people are more open to discussing spiritual issues than at any other time of the year. So share the message with your family and friends. Reach out beyond the church walls. It’s the best news they’ll ever hear!—Rick Warren2
Published on Anchor December 2019. Read by Jon Marc. Music from the Christmas Moments album. Used by permission.
1 Read specific ideas here: http://gccjax.org/reaching-out-during-christmas.