It’s easy to curse the darkness of our culture, yet none of us should be surprised when unbelievers think, act and believe in ways that are not in agreement with God’s Word and, thus, God’s will. However, it should be a huge surprise and even shock when God’s people think, act, spend money and live like the world. This is especially true when it comes to the “holiday season,” which now begins in late September with glimpses of it in mid-summer. The focus, of course, is on spending money and it doesn’t matter much what you spend it on as long as it goes from your wallet to the cash register. But what if professing believers celebrated Christmas in a way that would seem somewhat radical to those who don’t know Christ as their Savior? What if it appeared radical to those who do profess to be “born again”? Could we impact the culture?
For some good tips on how you and your family can enjoy a “Radical Christmas” just read on and enjoy giving rather than just receiving…
- Rev. Gary R. Cox
HOW TO HAVE A RADICAL CHRISTMAS
(based on the book Radical by David Platt)
For individuals & families
• Pray for the land of Jesus’ birth.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” says Psalm 122. Sadly, that call to prayer is just as needed today as it was three thousand years ago when David issued it. The land where the Prince of Peace first appeared knows little peace today. So at this Christmas season, every time you hear Israel mentioned on the news or in the Christmas story, pray for peace in the nation of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Pray for justice for all the inhabitants of the Holy Land. Pray especially that many more in that land will come to know the Messiah who was born as a baby in Bethlehem.
• Put Jesus before gift giving.
Is your family’s Christmas day celebration like many other people’s—centered around a frenzy of gift opening, the wrapping paper flying everywhere? Try something different this year. Before you open your presents, take time to focus on the Gift that God gave us all, as told in God’s Word.
Here are some ideas that other families have used.
_ Read the Christmas narratives (Matthew 1:18—2:23 and Luke 1:5—2:40) aloud in the family group and discuss why God sent his Son.
_ Using the Bible story as a “script,” act out the scenes of the Christmas drama, complete with impromptu costumes and a baby doll in a “manger.”
_ Use the figures from a Nativity scene to narrate the story for young and old. Sing a favorite Christmas carol to conclude.
_ Read Scriptures that talk about the meaning of the incarnation and discuss what it means for us (John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:5-18).
• Reduce your Christmas costs and give the extra away.
Did you know that the average American spends about $750 on Christmas each year? Did you know that in some countries the average per capita income for an entire year is less than $750?
Consider watching the documentary, What Would Jesus Buy and then discuss with your family how you can spend less this holiday season. Will you buy fewer gifts or less expensive gifts? Make your own gifts? Spend less on decorations and food? Cancel the annual ski trip? After you make your choice, give the money you save to Loving South Africa through Westminster as this is our Sessional-designated gift to the poor and needy of this world and your gift WILL make a radical difference.
• Bring Christmas cheer to the poor in your community.
One of the top reasons that people give for not breaking out of their routine to help the needy is that they don’t have the time. But almost everybody has vacation time scheduled at Christmas. Use some of yours to leave the comfort of home and go where you can do some good.
What’s your idea? Will you take warm coats and a hot meal to the homeless downtown? Ring a bell for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Charity? Dress up as Santa to give out presents at a rescue mission? Deliver gifts to the children of incarcerated parents? Bring some Christmas cheer to patients spending the holiday on a hospital ward?
• Invite an unsaved friend to attend church with you.
I hope you’re already planning to go to a church service with your loved ones this Christmas. But do more than that. Invite a non-Christian individual or family to come with you, especially if you have already been developing a relationship with them. Make it easy for your guests by offering to pick them up and drop them off. After the service, have a gift ready to give your guests, such as a Christmas ornament depicting the manger. Take the occasion to explain the gift of salvation that God gave to us in his Son.
Return to WaterBrookMultnomah.com/Radical
in January for An Action Plan for a Radical New Year