Evangelism At Christmas
Elder Caleb shares how CGs can go about speaking about Jesus at Christmastime with unbelievers.
The other day, while in Cold Storage in search of some pumpkin puree with a friend, I heard the harmony of a choir echoing through the baked goods aisle:
Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!
Hark! The herald angels sing: “Glory to to the newborn King!”
Though I could not find my pumpkin puree, it struck me that in Singapore we have so much freedom to speak, sing and declare the good news about Jesus. That song led to a good conversation with my friend about what it means to be reconciled to God, and who is this "newborn King" that the angels sang about.
Thanks to our religious freedoms and the desire to encourage harmony between faiths, all the major religions in Singapore are observed in one way or another. So for Christians, the festive season means that where everywhere we go, the essential truths of the faith are literally on display for public commemoration. But for believers this is surely an opportunity for us to engage and explain the watching world about what we are celebrating.
Tell the world about Jesus
The prophecy of Isaiah pronounced to the wicked king of Judah, Ahaz, was a gracious word to a fearful and undeserving king in a time of great chaos and anxiety: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel". While our world is gripped in fear and terror, our Christmas carols and hymns literally broadcast the reason for peace and rest:
O come, O come, Immanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
While we may not be able to gather many people in our building on 25 December, should we not, like Isaiah, tell the world of Jesus this Christmas? The best way to do this then, is to do it the way Isaiah did: go and tell people about Immanuel, God with us in a time of great fear. Tell the world amid Covid why we have peace in ourselves, with one another and with God. Tell them about Jesus.
How do we do this?
At GBC we are challenging our CGs to organise themselves in prayer and hospitality. Put those names of friends you’d like to share the gospel with this Christmas. Get your CG to pray through that list together. Pray for their personal circumstances and for their hearts to be moved when they hear of Christ. But most of all, pray for boldness to speak of Jesus.
The opportunities are endless at Christmas for gatherings. In fact, the 5-person ruling that we have now (the government only allows us to have up to 5 guests visit a residence at a time) could be a blessing. It makes for more intentional invitation and purposeful conversation.
Invite your non-Christian friend to come and celebrate a Christmas meal with you. This could be over a lunch or dinner (simple or complicated, you choose), or even to watch GBC’s service on Christmas Day at 9am and then to stay for lunch and conversation. Everywhere else in Singapore will be crowded, so why not have a good lunch at home? If they’re not able to make it for 25 December, invite them anytime in December, since it’s all part of the festive season anyway.
You could even let your friend know ahead of time that you’d like to share something of a Christian Christmas celebration so they’re not caught off guard.
Before the meal, we typically give thanks to God for food, and it’s not disrespectful or rude to ask our non-Christians to join us. This is especially so if we’ve given them some prior notice. It’s also a wonderful occasion to give thanks to God for our friendship and relationship with our friends, and to ask God to bless the time, to bless our friends, and to enrich the meal with conversation and encouragement.
If it’s appropriate, you could also ask for permission to read a passage of the Bible like Matthew 1:18-25, and share that Jesus came to “save his people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). Sharing this truth—that Jesus came into the world to rescue us from our sins, so our response is repentance and faith in His name—may seem like the hardest thing in the world, until we do it.
Alternatively, you could also play a little video that explains why Christians celebrate Christmas. Here are some of my favourites (and they’re short for easy viewing):
1. Peace on Earth – This little 2:19 min video describes how the world we live in is so full of conflict, but God has given us the gift of His only Son, a baby, and peace on earth. [Good for most adult audiences before a meal, and a good lead-in to pray for peace in our chaotic world, and in each other's lives.]
2. In Jesus, Hope Gets Personal – In 2:13 mins, we see an artistic presentation of the hope-filled promise of Messiah through the Old Testament, and the hope of Jesus which came to people like Peter in fear, Mary & Martha in grief, and Saul in hostility. [Good for young adult audiences, creatives, and folks with some Christian background, perhaps folks who have backslidden. A good pre-meal video and cue-in to pray for the discouraged and despairing.]
3. Jesus: the Prince of Peace: The Gospel Project for Kids Christmas – this video is 3:40 min long, and is a disarmingly simple and straightforward presentation of the Christmas story. Jesus is presented as God’s Son, here to save us from our sins. [Excellent for children and for parents—sometimes adults hear it best when it's presented for children.]
4. The Christmas Story: Kids Perspective – a bit longer, this video is 4:07 long and has children live-acting the full Christmas story that ends with a celebration of the “best night ever”! It’s both heartwarming and sweet. [As above, good for families and perhaps for older children too.]
While it may seem challenging, speaking about Jesus is actually the most wonderful thing to do. And once we commit to speaking of Him, we’ll find His Spirit is with us, strengthening us to do God’s will everywhere and anywhere we are.
While I never found my pumpkin puree, I found something better: there really are a thousand opportunities to speak of Him, everywhere we go.
May the Lord be with you as you tell the world of Jesus this Christmas!