"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." — Titus 3:4–5a
Over a thousand Americans who do not typically attend church were asked, “If someone you know invited you to attend church with them at Christmastime, how likely would you be to attend?” Almost six out of ten (57%) said “likely.”
Many of us have a sense that our non-Christian friends and neighbors think religion is no longer relevant. Growing secularism paralyzes us. We wonder how we might shine the light of Jesus in a context that is contrary to him and quick to cancel us.
While it’s true that Christianity feels increasingly irrelevant in the West, the same cannot be said about the Christmas season itself. We remain a people who love Christmastime and all its traditions. Christmas carols at the mall announce, “The Lord has come!” Nativity scenes sprinkle public places. Cars don stickers reminding other drivers that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
If six out of ten Americans who do not typically attend church are willing to go with a friend at Christmas, this is your sign that most non-Christians are willing to consider spiritual things all month long. This season is the perfect bridge for us to cross into culture to invite our loved ones to come and see what (Who!) the holiday is all about.
If you typically find yourself afraid to mention Jesus to your friends, coworkers, and neighbors, this is your moment.
Motivated by Kindness, Love, and Mercy
This month’s memory verse is from Paul’s letter to Titus, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4-5a). Paul reminds us that Jesus’s coming to earth is the very appearance of God’s kindness and love. Christmas is borne of God’s mercy.
Kindness, love, and mercy are God’s motives for Christmas. So then, let us also be propelled by kindness, love, and mercy. Let us also go toward others, as our Savior did. Let us also do what it takes to make sure our loved ones know what Christmastime is all about.
This is a unique month in our calendar year. December is unlike any other time in the western world. What would it look like for us to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:16) and share the truth of Christmas with others? Below are some practical ideas to do just that.
Five Practical Ways to Talk About Jesus this Month
1. Share what your Dwell Differently tattoo or jewelry means. If you’re reading this article you likely know about Dwell Differently’s temporary tattoos and beautiful jewelry. You may know, then, what great conversation starters they are. Without fail, my Dwell tattoos and necklaces prompt friends and strangers alike to ask, “What do those letters mean?” With this month’s verse we will be able to tie the birth of Jesus to God’s kindness, love, and mercy. We can rehearse the gospel right then. Jesus wasn’t just a babe born in a manger, he’s our Savior who came to save us, not because of our good works, but because of his mercy.
2. Have a birthday party for Jesus. When my kids were younger we hosted a birthday party for Jesus every December. We invited all their friends and their parents to come to our house for a full-on birthday party. We had crafts and games and, of course, birthday cake (we even sang to Jesus). We asked each child to bring a birthday gift for Jesus, which was for a Christian ministry we selected. For example, they brought socks for the local homeless shelter, baby items for a pregnancy center, or toys for children who live in transitional homes. Everyone loves to get behind charity at Christmas and having a birthday party for Jesus provides an easy and tangible way to talk about the true gospel.
3. Bring cookies and an invitation. It may feel cliche, but this is easy and effective—and who doesn’t love home baked cookies? Spend an afternoon baking cookies with your family (or invite a handful of friends over!), arrange a variety of cookies on a paper plate or in a cookie tin, attach a Christmas card, and consider attaching an invitation to your church’s Christmas Eve service and maybe even a small gospel tract or Christmas book. We do this every single year and our neighbors always seem to enjoy the gesture. Even if they don’t accept our invitation, we build those relationships with each act of kindness. You can alter this idea to bring something healthy (homemade granola is a favorite of mine) and it doesn’t have to be just neighbors, it can be your coworkers or your children’s classmates. Everyone loves home-baked goods and the data shows 57% of the recipients will want to go to church with you on Christmas.
4. Host a Christmas block party. Block parties are common in the summer, but why not in December? Consider asking a friend or people on your church’s worship team to join in by providing live Christmas carols. Build a campfire on the driveway, serve hot chocolate in crockpots, and don’t forget the cookies. Place invitations to your church’s Christmas Eve service (or Christmas books or gospel tracts) on the buffet. Take this time to get to know your neighbors, share your Dwell tattoo, or invite them back for dinner in January. The goal here is to capitalize on this chance to make a new Christmas tradition in your community and to be ready to point to the kindness, love, and mercy of our Savior who was born in Bethlehem.
5. Consider who might be lonely and go visit them. Think through the last year and who you know who has suffered a loss. No doubt the holidays are very painful for them and they could use a visit and some comfort. Or consider places like nursing homes, prisons, or group homes. What populations are nearby who are often forgotten and left out? Call those places and ask if you can visit with a prepared meal, cookies, and maybe even a little Christmas program. Your small group could sing Christmas carols, provide a Christmas card craft that you do with the residents there, or play some kind of Christmas game. Employ your people and your creativity and think of ways to share the gospel as you celebrate Christmas with these new neighbors.
This is our moment, brothers and sisters. Don’t sit this one out. Christmas can be a busy time and sharing the gospel can feel daunting. But there’s no more natural and strategic season all year long. Pray now about how God might use you and where he might send you. Ask the Lord to fill you with the kindness, love, and mercy that propelled him toward us, so that you might be propelled toward others.