Christmas is a hot topic of conversation at the moment. The government are resolute that ‘Christmas is not cancelled’, the adverts are asking us to buy into it and we’re all asking each other ‘what do you think you’ll do for Christmas this year?’.
As these conversations bubble away, we can pray that God will give us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with flatmates and coursemates. If Christmas is on the agenda, perhaps Christ can be too?
In this unusual year we might be especially surprised at how open our friends are and the questions they might have.
Some of our rational-minded friends might want your take on some of the details of the Christmas story. These are tough questions. Understandably, they might leave us scratching our heads ourselves.
Where to start:
I’ve found that a good place to start is to build bridges with your friend. They’re right after all – the events of the nativity really are unexpected, unnatural and unprecedented, even by biblical standards. John begins his Gospel by telling us how remarkable these events are: God took on human flesh and dwelt among us (1:14) and He did this to fully reveal Himself to us (1:18) and bring about the radical adoption into God’s family that He desires (1:12). It’s crazy stuff, right?
But why not gently challenge your friend: isn’t that the point? If God really did break into human history, wouldn’t you expect the unexpected?
As the conversation develops and you engage with their question, you might find yourself stuck for answers on specific issues. That’s okay. We do credit to the gospel when we honestly say, ‘I don’t know, can I come back to you once I’ve done some thinking?’.
Other friends might have a different kind of question, as this year’s pandemic has caused them to look for meaning and hope. It’s hard to know exactly what form these will take and they’ll probably spring up naturally over the course of a conversation. Sometimes the question might be obvious without ever being articulated.
Where to start:
In these moments, again, seek to build bridges.
And finally, whatever question comes your way this year, try to lead the conversation to Jesus Himself. Whether your friends are looking for understanding, hope or meaning this Christmas, He is where it can be found.
This blog was written by Boaz Williams, UCCF’s Assistant Team Leader in the North West. He has recently discovered salted caramel mince pies. This year, he is excited to have a real Christmas tree for the first time in his home in Manchester.
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