Christmas is the best time of the year.
It’s the season with the greatest opportunities to proclaim the message of Good News to ears that are more willing than usual to listen.
The statistics prove it.
Some tag along with family members.
The most visitors a congregation receives is on Christmas Eve.
Others are inspired by the Christmas spirit and feel that attending worship is something they ought to do.
And there are a few who come because they are struggling to find peace and joy in a world that broadcasts fear and uncertainty.
Its appealing to consider singing “Silent Night” in the glow of the candlelight and be caught up in the warmth of a decorated church.
They are looking for some good news.
It is true that there is a growing number of people who are becoming more unlikely to visit an established church on a Sunday morning, but not on Christmas Eve. This is different.
Great opportunities abound during Christmas to declare that God became flesh so that he may finish the redemptive work on our behalf.
Mission-minded congregations are strategic on how they can reach those who don’t know Christ during Christmas. They don’t necessarily celebrate the number of visitors who attend church on Christmas Eve, but celebrate the connections that are made. As unbelievers turn their attention and thoughts to Jesus and church at this time, it can become the beginning of a faith journey. Mission minded churches consider it a joy and privilege to be granted an opportunity to have ongoing spiritual conversations that will require investments of time, commitment and persistence.
While congregations prepare for Christmas Eve, members can also prepare hearts and minds to be gospel intentional in getting the Word out beyond the church doors.
What can a Christian believer say when they invite an unchurched friend or neighbor to come to church on Christmas Eve and provide a short gospel message?
May I suggest the following:
“Hi [name]. Merry Christmas! I love this time of year. We have a very nice Christmas Eve service at my church and I would like to extend an invitation for you and your family to join us. We sing familiar Christmas carols, plus our pastor gives a short message about the love of God and what he has already done for us through Christ. Then we conclude by lighting candles and singing “Silent Night.” In those words, I find true peace during these uncertain times that only comes from trusting God’s promises that my sins are fully forgiven right now. The greatest promise ever kept is what we celebrate at Christmas. Our service starts at 6 p.m. Let me know if you can join us and we’ll meet you there.”
Christians are often surprised when people politely and respectfully receive invitations to come to Christmas Eve worship services. They are willing to listen to the reasons for the hope we have in Christ.
We can pray,
“Lord, thank you for fulfilling your promises in Christ. May our hearts be filled with joy and peace this Christmas season as we reflect on your message. Prompt our spirit to share this message with others and unleash its power. Open our eyes to opportunities you provide to invite people to hear the Good News on Christmas Eve. Thank you for the privilege to be your heralds in this dark world. In your name we pray, Amen.