Or at least it very nearly is. There are presents to be bought and parties to be planned. It’s also one of the best times of year to speak to friends about Jesus.
Even though most people’s Christmases will be more about Santa than Jesus, there’s still very often an openness to more traditional views of Christmas, i.e. that it might be about the birth we’re meant to be celebrating!
Here are a few ideas for making the most of the Christmas opportunities.
Remember the best present
Take time to think about why Christmas is such good news. You won’t want to share it, if you don’t think it’s wonderful news!
If Jesus had never come to us, we would never have come to know Him.
If He’d never been born, He’d never have died, and we’d never be saved.
Because Jesus is truly human, He can sympathise with our weaknesses… and do something about it!
He is “Emmanuel” – God with us. Not far off or dismissive, but with us.
You get the idea. Remember the joy of knowing Jesus for yourself and that He came for your friends and family too.
Celebrate loud and clear
We have so many reasons to celebrate at this time of year. Prioritise spending time with those who don’t yet know God. Make it clear why you’re celebrating. Actually drop it into conversation.
Play carols with great words and point them out to people. It’s amazing how many people sing these words each year without understanding them. Explain why O Little Town Of Bethlehem is your favourite carol – if it is! (Mine changes every year.)
Celebrate differently to others. Don’t get drunk at the Christmas party. Don’t get too hung up on everything being perfect. Don’t feel you need to spend a fortune on presents. Include outsiders in your fun, rather than just friends and family. It can speak volumes about how you approach Christmas differently.
Aside from being good fun, celebrating Christmas together with our friends makes it seem less out of the blue when we…
Invite them to our carols
Everyone loves a good carol service… and we’ve got two! Not to mention Christmas Day as well. Bring them along. It’s the least threatening sounding church service of the year. Loads of people make the effort to come to church this one time each year, so why not make it Emmanuel with you?
There are tons of leaflets! Take a bundle and give them to your friends and neighbours. Leave a stack in a public place (with permission)! Stick them on your colleagues desks. Put one in your window.
We’ve created Facebook events as well, which some people find easier to invite friends with. Head to facebook.com/emmanuelbramcote to find these. If you’re coming, why not say you’re ‘Going’ on the Facebook event? If you’re not sure, click ‘Maybe’. The more people it looks like will be there, the more legit the event seems when your friends click on it.
But the best invite is a personal invite. Speak to a friend, give them an invite, and ask if they’d come with you. It can be as simple as, “Hey, do you fancy coming to a carol service with me on the 22nd/23rd? It’ll be really Christmassy and fun.” Maybe arrange to have them over to your house beforehand or afterwards to continue the festive fun.
Pray about it before you invite them, that you’d have the guts to do it and that they’d say ‘yes’! And pray that once they come, the gospel would be clearly explained and they would believe it.
Be prepared for them to say ‘no’ too. Don’t take it too personally. Try again another time. Have someone else in mind to invite if your first choice turns you down. Take one person to the Saturday night service and someone else on Sunday. For that, you’ll need a few options up your sleeve!
Plan to chat with your friends about what they made of the service afterwards. Ask them what they thought of the Bible talk. Find out if anything surprised them about it. Tell them what struck you.
On your way out, stop by the bookstall. They will be loads of free stuff for people to take. Even if they don’t take anything, why don’t you grab a tract or a book and give it to them later. (You can’t say we don’t provide cheap present ideas!)
Think about what you could invite them to next. Would Christianity Explored be a good next step for them? Or another event coming up like Out Of Hours, Out Of The Box? Or just bring them to church any old Sunday!
Whatever you do, get inviting! Christmas is such a fantastic opportunity. Don’t miss it!