It is easy in our busy lives to overlook the obvious. In amongst all our preparations and shopping and entertaining it is easy to forget that we already have the best gift that anyone could ever want for Christmas and for life – and that is Jesus.
Sometimes it can seem scary to think about our faith as a gift we might be able to share – but what if we do try to think about it that way? What if we think about who we can invite to Church this Christmas? What if we think about someone who we can say that Christmas matters to me because of something more than ribbons and bows?
Sure, you are going to have a million questions buzzing around your head about whether you are the one to invite anyone anywhere. What if they ask difficult questions? What if the sermon is boring or the choir sings flat? How can I ask anyone to share my faith when I have so many questions? You will probably come up with some of your own.
So here is the challenge for you. Think of one person, just one. It can be someone in your family or friends. Someone you know from work or the person on the register at Publix. One person. Trust that God will lead you to the right person and each day pray for them by name. A simple prayer will do: “Lord, I pray for X today, please let her/him feel your presence”. That is how it starts.
You will be surprised at how often God is already working quietly away with people and just needs your help!
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But I can’t……
….because I am not super-religious. You don’t need to be. God can use each of us in a special and unique way, if we are willing to try.
….because my friends will find church boring. It is true, they might, and that is OK. But you don’t. Don’t underestimate people’s ability to find God in a space, even when they do not understand every single piece of what is going on.
….because I feel silly asking. This is normal. We all feel on edge or out of our element when we are doing something which places our own beliefs front and center, especially when we do not know how they will be received.
….because they will probably say no. They might, and you have to decide, before you ask, that it is OK if they do, and not allow it to hurt your feelings. The fact of the matter is that you are offering something which is very special to you, to someone else and rejection hurts. But you are offering something special, and even if they say no, most people realize that you are inviting them from good motives. Even if they do not say so, that gives them something to think about.
….because I am not clever enough to answer hard questions. It is not about being clever, it is about being honest. If you do not know, say so. If you struggle with something, say so. Also say how you deal with it. Does your experience of God make it OK not to have all the answers? Do the good things outweigh the bad? Your truth matters and there are always people you can refer to if your friend really wants to delve in deeper than you find comfortable.
Think of someone to begin praying for today. Start praying for them and see what doors God opens.