Three years ago, a husband and wife, along with their two young children, came to a worship gathering. But this was not our regular, Friday morning service. It was Christmas Eve!
For this family from a least-reached nation nearby, it was the first time they had ever stepped foot into a gathering of Christians. They thought they were merely accepting an invitation to show interest in their friends, but what happened that night would change their lives forever. The order of service wasn’t fancy—there was singing, reading God’s Word, and a sermon. During the presentation of the gospel they both felt, in their own words, “a sensation they’d never felt before.”
In the days that followed, they couldn’t get Jesus out of their minds. They began to study the Bible with someone from our church. Through studying God’s Word, it became obvious to them that Jesus is who he says he is. Both of them repented of their sin and confessed that Jesus Christ is both Lord and Savior, and are now part of our church.
Christmas is a remarkable time of the year. One reason it is so remarkable is because many people who normally don't think about Jesus are suddenly drawn to consider him. "What is the reason for this season?" many people ask. Often times, people who do not normally visit a church or religious gathering during the year have a desire to come on Christmas. They have an opportunity to hear and consider the message of the gospel.
Our Savior, Jesus, was born as a baby and wrapped in swaddling cloth to be laid in a manger. Later, he was lifted up to die on a cross to pay for the sins of all who would believe. His disciples wrapped his body in cloth and laid him in a tomb. Three days later that tomb was empty! Our Savior is risen! Let’s not miss this opportunity to share Good News at Christmas this year.
Here are seven ways we can maximize Christmas as members of Redeemer Church of Dubai:
1 - Rest
Many people travel during the Christmas season. Some will take holidays scattered throughout the month. I pray that you would finish the year off well and be energized for the start of the new year.
2 - Rest in Christ
I pray that your affections for Jesus would grow as we consider the meaning of Christmas. I pray that you'll take time to consider the incarnation of Christ. Let's endeavor to enjoy Jesus each and every day, especially during a season when we're tempted to run off to the next thing. As we sing songs about Christmas, would your heart leap for joy at the fact that God came to us!
3 - Enjoy the time with people
December is one of the most exciting months in the life of our church. It's one of my very favorite months. There are parties to attend-- and a Christmas picnic, Christmas Eve service, and even a member meeting. December is an amazing time to gather together with others from our church. Enjoy it with people. Don't waste it. Use these gatherings and the time off to invest spiritually in others.
4 - Be evangelistic
Use Christmas as a time to share the gospel with people. Don't get so busy that you fail to use one of the most strategic times of the year. Invite those in your sphere of influence. Coffee shops, mall, neighbors, non-Christian friends. Invite them. Encourage other members to do the same. Use the upcoming Christmas holiday season as a bridge to the gospel with everyone you talk to. Ask your friends this simple question: "Do you know why Christians celebrate Christmas?" I think you will be astonished by how interested some people are in learning more about what Christians believe. Read to them the narrative in the gospel of Luke. In our experience, many if not most of our neighbors are rather fascinated to hear about what is in the Bible because they’ve never really met a Christian who will take time to tell them. Instead, they’ve just heard from the movies or rumors. Let’s let our friends hear the truth about Christ from Christ-followers. Pray that your non-Christian friends would repent and believe in Jesus and be saved.
5 - Invite people to our Christmas Eve Service
As you talk to people let them know we’re having a Christmas Eve Service. Invite them to attend and let them know that you’d be willing to pick them up or meet them in the front of our building and sit with them. Introduce them to other members that evening and afterwards ask them what they thought about the message. Use that night as a bridge to further gospel conversations.
6 - Have intentional conversations with your children
Christmas is a prime discipling time for your kids. Read the Christmas story, memorize Scripture, do a Christmas countdown by spending time each night over the next two weeks to talk about various aspects of Christmas. Read the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. Outdo the world’s excitement for Santa Claus by showing them how satisfying it is to worship Jesus. Pray together thanking God for the birth of Jesus. Use this time to build memory making times with your kids that involve teaching them about Jesus.
7 - Open up your home
Host dinners and parties in your home—invite your neighbors to celebrate with you. And at the party share the Christmas story…but of course don’t leave out the Easter story. Christmas without Easter is like eating biriyani without the rice. You can’t do it. It’s impossible, plus it will make no sense. Tell people that Jesus was born to die. That from the moment He was born, He set His face toward Jerusalem to give His life as a sacrifice for our sin. And He did! He went to the cross, faced the wrath of God and punishment of death we deserved, and on the third day he rose from the dead. Tell people that Christmas is significant because God came to us. He identified with us, but He also died for us. Also, look around and invite other Christians into your home. If you see singles or those apart from their families in our church or city, invite them to join you for Christmas dinner. Reach out to those outside of your generational demographic, economic demographic, and cultural demographic. Let’s also be on the lookout for our fellow members who are grieving, who have lost a loved one this year, or who may be separated from their family and loved ones back home. We are a family in Christ, let’s make sure our entire family is cared for.
Let’s not waste Christmas this year. Let’s celebrate it to the glory of God. Merry Christmas!