Christmas has sprung up quickly this year.
TV adverts are already full of happy families eating turkey. Shop windows are covered in tinsel. Mariah Carey's 'All I want for Christmas' has even re-entered the charts.
Maybe you've begun thinking about when you'll head home for the holidays. Most likely, you've turned to a housemate and said at least once 'I'm starting to feel a bit Christmassy'.
As these conversations and plans bubble away, let's pray that God will give us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus. If Christmas is on the agenda, perhaps Christ can be too?
After such an unusual 18 months, we might be especially surprised at how open people 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:
Start by building 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?
'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 the pandemic has caused them to look for meaning and hope. It’s hard to know exactly what form these will take. 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.
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