A study by LifeWay Research found that 80% of unchurched adults would seriously consider accepting an invitation, extended by a friend, to attend a Christmas Eve service. Why? Because even the unchurched love the celebration of Christmas. Now, they love it for the wrong reasons: the nostalgia, the decorations, the parties, and gift-giving. The thought of sitting in a candle-lit church on Christmas Eve… the big, beautiful Christmas tree… singing some favorite Christmas carols… Many unchurched individuals would find that invitation appealing. But many people are living in the darkness of sin. They don’t see or understand the spiritual significance of Christmas. They enjoy Christmas for all of the selfish reasons.
So, when they join us for Christmas, we will give them more than nostalgia. We will tell them that the world is a dark place, and that the darkness exists in each of our hearts. We will also tell them that to pierce that darkness, God took on flesh. We will explain that what they see in the manger is not just a baby. He is Light. As Isaiah so joyfully proclaimed, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.” (Isaiah 9:2-3)
What joy that God has shown his light into the darkness of our hearts! We who are reading this aren’t stumbling around in the darkness of unbelief, lost and bewildered, trying to find our way to God and anxious about what we deserve. God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, has shown the light of Jesus into our hearts to reveal to us the path to eternal life. What a joy to know that salvation is not something we have to earn. Favor with God is not dependent upon what we do or don’t do. We have hope, peace, and joy as we ponder the second coming of Jesus and are not afraid of standing before him in judgment. God has shown the light of Jesus into our hearts and given to us the certainty of life in heaven.
What a privilege and responsibility this gives to us to reflect this light into the lives of others so they too can have the same hope, peace and joy that we have. What an opportunity Christmas presents to us to invite people we know and care about to gather with us to see the light of Jesus. We can help them see that there is so much more to Christmas than the secular celebration around us. Christmas is about seeing God’s love in sending the Savior he promised to rescue us from our sin and guarantee us the certainty of heaven.
We are encouraging each one of you to participate in inviting others to church this Christmas season. Please take some of the invitation cards from the back counter in church and hand them out to your neighbors, relatives, and co-workers. Take some with you to the grocery store and invite the cashier. Leave some at businesses you frequent. Invite people personally and follow up by sending them an invite card. We have a great opportunity to let the light of Christ shine into the darkness of this world. May God bless our efforts in sharing the Christmas joy of the birth of our Savior.
Pastor Martin Spaude
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