Sadly, when I engaged the crowd to get to the “why” of the celebration of Christ’s birth, only an 8-yr old was able to correctly answer!
‘Tis the season for a great way to share the greatest news of all, the Gospel of Christ. Many will celebrate Christmas proclaiming the joy of the Savior of the world being born. Yet few can intelligibly explain why there’s a “Joy to the World”. However, by knowing this, we can position ourselves into a great position in conversation to share the Gospel of Christ.
Our focus must stem from the story behind the story. And that story must be laser-focused on the “why”. And that is exactly how you steer holiday conversations to the Gospel.
After some prayer before a Christmas-time outreach, the Lord opened my eyes to a simple, but effective method to share the Gospel in this way that worked great. A church I once attended did a community outreach every year for the city’s Light-Up Night. Local businesses setup booths and give away items, a local school band plays, and the city tree is lit for the season. I needed a way to engage the crowd knowing I only have a window of 2-5 minutes per conversation. Sadly, when I engaged the crowd to get to the “why” of the celebration of Christ’s birth, only an 8-yr old was able to correctly answer!
Step 1: The Question
To begin the conversation, ask a person, “What does Christmas mean to you?” The vast majority will give the sanctified answer, “Why it’s to celebrate the birth of our Savior!” If that’s the case, go to Step 2. The other possibility is that a person will give you another version of the meaning of Christmas (i.e. gather with family, get gifts, peace to all, joy, etc.). If that’s the case, simply ask if they know (which they will) that many celebrate the birth of Christ. Whether they do or not, you can follow that with, “Do you know why they celebrate Him?” and on to Step 2.
Step 2: The Reason
After the conversation is started and they are thinking, this is the opportunity to engage them with law and grace that will expose the answer we want to guide them to of the “why”. The next question after, “What does Christmas mean to you?” is, “Why do you celebrate that?… What makes Jesus’ arrival so great? What did He do?” (or something along those lines).
From there, some will give it a shot and answer with something like, “To bring joy and peace to the world…” While that’s not completely wrong, it still misses the mark. Often I’ll jump to walking them through the Good Person Test (see an example here). Everyone thinks they are a good person. Many even proclaim that God knows their heart which is not a good thing either (Jeremiah 17:9). A quick comparison of their life to the 10 Commandments and they quickly see that they are not a good person by God’s standards.
Once they understand that they’re not a good person (Romans 3:9-18, 23-24) and how God will judge every single person (Hebrews 9:27), they will be in a position without hope (this is on purpose). And that is exactly where you want them. Because when they realize they’ve broken every law and drank down sin like water (Romans 3:23, Job 15:16), and they understand that God is a just Judge who requires payment for their sin against Him, and that they cannot provide such payment even by their best works (Isaiah 64:6), they are ready to see God’s love as it is displayed on Calvary. The cross of Christ is now seen as precious.
What It Looks Like
(You can see it in action in the video below.) By taking a person through this quick, yet potent journey in conversation, they can now truly see the “joy” in singing “Joy to the World”. They can see why such rejoicing takes place in recognizing who Emmanuel is. They now get a clearer picture of how much God truly loves us (John 3:16). They have a real reason to celebrate the birth of Christ, their only hope.
Soli Deo Gloria!