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Luis Palau shows how we can reveal Christ in Christmas to our friends and family. It’s so easy to get caught up in the holiday buzz and forget what it’s really all about. Receive a good reminder of why we can have a truly merry Christmas!
Picture this: A man is a huge sports fan. He knows all the players’ names. He knows their statistics. He knows the coach’s history. He finds joy and excitement in watching the game. One day, this man is given season tickets for twenty people. You’d think he’d be elated. And yet, he doesn’t give even one away.
The man hides the tickets and continues to watch the game from the privacy of his living room. He doesn’t call his buddies and invite them to the stadium. He doesn’t even tell his wife or kids about the incredible gift. Doesn’t that sound absurd?! If I met this man, I’d say, “What are you thinking?! You have the opportunity to bless so many people and yet you’re not! How can you be so selfish?”
But, friend, don’t we all act like this man sometimes? The Bible says that the “gift of God is eternal life.” If you know Jesus Christ, you have this gift! You have eternal life! In today’s world, the #1 fear is the fear of death. People are afraid to die. And yet, we have the gift of life! Because of Jesus, we don’t need to be afraid of death because we know that we’ll live forever. Not telling people about Jesus’ gift is worse than hiding season tickets. We have something that the world craves. We have news that the world is anxious to hear. And so, let’s not keep this incredible gift to ourselves; let’s share it with as many people as possible.
When I was in China, I had an eight-hour conversation with a Communist leader called Mr. Zhao. We videotaped our discussion and published it in a book called, A Friendly Dialogue between an Atheist and a Christian. It was so fascinating talking with this man who is very logical and intellectual. He is a scientist and an architect.
After several hours, I said to him, "Mr. Zhao, God loves you. He wants to come into your life. He wants to give you peace and eternal life." And Mr. Zhao said to me, "I just cannot believe because I’m a scientist. I’ve got to see it in a laboratory. I’ve got to analyze it." I got really excited at that point. I said, "Mr. Zhao, I’ve got a laboratory for you where you can experiment what God can do in a person’s life." He said, "Where is it?" I said, "Sir, you are the laboratory." And he said, "I never thought of that." Do you have a friend who thinks logic and faith do not mix? Urge them to investigate the claims of Christ in the Bible. And since it’s Christmastime, encourage your friend to evaluate the prophecies concerning Jesus. Show him how God foretold the coming of His Son.
It was all laid out: Where He would be born, how He would be born, what His name would be... You can’t get more logical and detailed than that! Let us all remember Paul’s words about true wisdom in 1 Corinthians 1:18, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
Are you searching for more than Christmas trees and fuzzy feelings? So are a lot of other people this Christmas season. Just ask this question: "After all the presents and all the holiday parties are over, do you really feel satisfied?" Most people will answer, "No!" In fact, many people say they feel more empty after all the holiday festivities are over than they did before it all began. Why is that?
Well, it has to do with how we are built. God created us to be in fellowship with Him and to worship Him. And when we try to put any thing or any person in His place, we are worshiping an idol: An empty, lifeless thing. Material things are fun - but short-lived. They can never satisfy our souls.
Romans 1:25 says, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things, rather than the Creator..." Don’t get me wrong: I love Christmas! It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of Christ with friends and family. The trouble starts when we lose focus and are no longer keeping Christ as the center of our celebration.
So, make an effort this year to keep "Christ in Christmas," as my friends often say. Create family traditions, such as reading Luke chapter two or attending a Christmas Eve worship service, to highlight the birth of our Savior. Then, invite your unbelieving friends into your home so they can see for themselves what Christmas is really all about in a Christ-centered home.
Thinking about Christmas and the virgin birth of Jesus, an old hymn came to my mind. It says: "It took a miracle to put the stars in place. It took a miracle to hang the world in space. But when He saved my soul, cleansed and made me whole, it took a miracle of love and grace." God did this dramatic thing because He wanted to bring us back to Himself.
He wanted to deal with sin once and for all, so He sent us His Son. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ, the miracle of the Son of God becoming a man, was prophesied and planned in God’s purpose from ages past. In fact, the theologians tell us that the moment Adam and Eve--the first human beings--committed their sin, God immediately promised the Savior, the Messiah. And then He confirmed that promise to many other people throughout history.
God foretold that His Son would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 says, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel." God even foretold where He would be born: In Bethlehem of Judea. God had a plan and He was dropping hints all throughout history that He intended to rescue the human race.
This is the message of hope we can share with our friends this Christmas season. Invite them to a Christmas play at your church or a candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Who knows? They might accept Christ into their hearts that very night! At least you are planting good seed.
I think the Christmas season is a perfect time to share our faith in Jesus Christ. There’s many ways we can do this, but one easy way is just to begin a friendly dialogue on the topic. Here’s what you do: In the course of a normal conversation, casually ask your friend if he is doing anything to celebrate Christmas.
You might follow up with: "So, what does Christmas mean to you?" Listen carefully to what your friend has to say. Then, tell him what you think about Christmas. You might even get to share your testimony about how you invited Christ into your heart. Describe the difference this has made in your life. Then, bring it back to the topic at hand by explaining that Christmas is really a celebration of the birth of our Savior.
Be bold and invite your friend to read it for himself. Direct him to the Christmas story in Luke chapter two. If there’s time, offer to sit down with your friend and read it out loud. Then read Romans 5:8, which says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
That’s what Christmas is all about! Sometimes all it takes is one probing question to bring about an opportunity to share the Good News. Try it this week and pray for God to open your friend’s heart. As you step out in faith this Christmas season, God may use you to draw your friends and family to Himself.
The King of Kings, salvation brings! What a glorious reminder of whom we are celebrating each December. Are you looking for ways to publicly praise Jesus Christ this Christmas? Christmas is the perfect time to share it. This week be challenged to share the true Christmas story. There’s no better time to remember what the Good News really means, than at Christmas.