by Ron Vanderwell
We’re heading into the season where everyone talks about Christmas. From Black Friday to the in-laws coming to visit–we’ve got our shopping lists, our holiday calendars, things that still need to be done. We make our plans for the days we’ll have away from school or our jobs. We’ll brace ourselves for the crazy family dramas or the bittersweet memories of Christmases past that inevitable surface in our hearts.
With all of this going on it still amazes me how easy it can be for church people to celebrate Christmas like atheists. We sing about Christ’s birth a few times in church, but beyond that no one really hears much about the effect that Bethlehem might have had on the lives that you and I are so busy trying to live. We talk about the Christ child the way that any other atheists might…that is to say, we don’t.
If we’re doing church right, being part of church together ought to make this a lot easier. A good Kingdom Kids’ Sunday ought to bring a family more than halfway to a great Jesus conversation over lunch at the end of the morning. Or a good sermon ought to trigger a conversation over coffee about your experiences of having to “wait” on God in a situation.
Yet…all too often, we don’t. We listen like Christ-followers, but we talk like atheists. Does that strike anyone else as a bit strange?
But now let’s suppose that you really would like to sound less like an atheist this Christmas—what might you do? Let me give some specific suggestions:
1. Talk with someone else about this blog post. Maybe shoot them a quick email forward or Facebook share or tweet the link to this post. Ask them what they think, and then give your own response.
2. Ask someone what they talked about after they participate in a group or program. Ask your family member or friend: “What’d you talk about in Kingdom Kids (or Fuel, Journey, Coffee Break, etc.) this morning, honey?” and then ask them what they thought about what they talked about. Of course this one only works if someone manages to…
3. Attend an event where we talk about Jesus in some way: worship service, Kingdom Kids, GEMS, Men’s group, etc. Skipping Christ-events because we’re so busy with Christmas stuff is ironic, to say the least, but it’s been known to happen.
4. Fill out a Christmas ornament at a weekend service. Over the course of this month we’ll be creating over 600 Christmas ornaments highlighting some of the things that we’re still “Waiting” on before God. Add your voice to the testimonies accumulating in our worship spaces. Of course, that won’t really happen unless you…
5. (see #3, above.)
You get the point.
I’d love to have you tell me some of your experiences with these conversations during the next week or two. During the coming days the yuletide activities that you engage in will either make it almost inevitable that you will end up talking about the Christ whose birthday lies hidden beneath our layers of holiday busyness, or almost impossible. And the simple fact is that the choice in that is really up to you.
Hmmm–you don’t say…