Christmas is a great time of the year for many people. It’s a time of celebration where gifts are given, roasts are eaten, holidays are taken and time is spent with family and friends. Although as Christians we also enjoy these things, they can only ever be secondary considerations, because the real gift of Christmas blows the stuffing out of a nice roast turkey.
At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God himself entered into our world, as Philippians 2 reminds us, ‘[Jesus] made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness’. This was God, entering into our broken and suffering world to save us, even though we had done nothing to deserve it. This is the good news that Christians are called to proclaim to all.
Last week we talked about using Christmas to evangelise our families and close friends. Today we’re going to take a step back and think about how we can use Christmas to effectively talk to our work colleagues and neighbours about Jesus.
Work colleagues and neighbours are people who we have regular (but generally superficial) contact with. Christmas presents a great opportunity to build on those relationships and to sow gospel seeds. The great thing to remember as you do this is that it is God (not you!) who will be changing hearts; we are simply called to make the most of the opportunities presented to us. Here are some tips and ideas to get you thinking:
- Take the opportunity to decorate your house or work-station, but choose to do this with obviously Christian decorations –you could include a nativity scene rather than the customary Santa decorations. While demonstrating clearly where you stand, such decorations invite questions and conversations, perhaps with those who have not previously known how to question your faith or ask you about God.
- Give small-gifts (baked goods are an easy option) and gospel-centred cards to your neighbours and colleagues – this is such a simple way to show your love and care which in an individualistic society like ours, can go a long way!
- Ask questions that will open up conversations. ‘What do you think is important about Christmas?’ and ‘why do you celebrate Christmas?’ are much better questions than ‘What are you doing for Christmas?’ It gives people a chance to talk about what’s important for them as well as allowing you to tell them why you think Christmas is important!
- Raise your expectations. There are so many opportunities to share the gospel but if your aren’t ready and looking for them, they will pass you by; if you expect opportunities, you’re far more likely to recognise them and use them.
- Pray! Put it in His hands and pray that God would use our bumblings and mistakes to glorify him.
Remember that our motivation is love. We tell people the good news because God loved us so much that he sent his one and only son to take the punishment for us, bringing us back into relationship with God. It is this love for all people that we should have for, and share with, our work colleagues and neighbours this Christmas.