Heading off or hanging around
Now although some of us will be heading off over Christmas, I want to encourage the bulk of us to hang around, and at least until after the Christmas Services. And it’s not because I get lonely when people are away – although I do, haha, ask my wife – it’s simply because Christmas is such an opportune time for many reasons. For example:
Christmas attracts the community. You are well aware that many people who normally never come to church will come for Christmas services or Christmas presentations, like our Carols. In addition, our whole community is immersed in Christmas, and so many people are a bit more prepared to hear the Gospel than at other times of the year.
Christmas encourages us to bring relatives and friends. Christmas is a perfect time to invite your relatives or neighbours or friends. It is so much easier to invite family and friends to church at Christmas than any other time of the year. They might not accept your invitation, but if they know you go to church, they’re at least expecting you might invite them.
Christmas reminds us of what we’re on about. In the busy, fast-paced society in which we live, it is easy to forget what the mission of God’s church is about: that the kingdom of God is at hand and people need to repent and believe the good news concerning God’s Son Jesus. And so Christmas brings that back to the forefront of our minds, if we’ve left that slip.
Christmas is a great time to celebrate together. I have found that in past years one of the blessings at Christmas time has been how many of us, who don’t have family here in Cairns, and aren’t heading off to see family elsewhere, get together after church on Christmas Day and have a meal together. What a way to celebrate God’s gift to us in Jesus and also God’s gift of an eternal family. So make sure you organise something!
Christmas helps us to focus on praying for unbelievers. During the year there are many things we pray about, but at Christmas (and at Easter) it’s hard not to think about those in our families or neighbourhood or workplace or school or college or university or interest group, who don’t have Christ in their life. And so it helps us to focus our prayers on God’s mercy and grace to be revealed to them too.
And so, if you haven’t yet made plans, please hang around for Christmas at least, and please make the most of this opportune time for all people.
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