Christmas is upon us! The countdown has begun as consumers think in terms of shopping days. Retailers started this year earlier than ever opening their doors so that people will open their wallets. Black Friday was preceded by Dark Gray Thursday, breaking the ice on the spending frenzy with blockbuster deals beginning early Thanksgiving Day.
If you listen closely amidst the hustle and bustle you can hear the soundtrack of the season all about you. Along with ballads about Frosty and Rudolph you can hear songs using words like Christ and sin and salvation. The gospel is in the air.
People, ordinarily unconcerned with all things religious, will step through the door of a church. Maybe to be part of the reindeer games the season holds, not wanting to be left out of the family fun of festivity. Maybe driven by some primordial sense that religion belongs to the season and should be a token of their celebration.
Whatever the case, the clamor of Christmas brings to the table the birth of Jesus to be the savior of sinners, a birth announcement for all who have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It provides us who are God’s appointed ambassadors of the gospel with an opportunity to give reason for the season.
We can call people’s attention to the message all around them that otherwise may just be white noise. We can engage them in conversation for Christ, exploring their understanding of the incarnation and its relevance to them.
Certainly, we want to keep Christ in the gospel as the reason for the season. But we also want to avail ourselves of the season to speak with others about why the eternal Son of God became incarnate. We want to use the season to give the reason for the hope that is in us.
I commend to your use my booklet, God’s Good News, that puts Christmas in context. The quote from the back cover sets the stage.
“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” So announced the angelic messenger to shepherds in the Judean countryside outside the town of Bethlehem. What sort of news could this be that speaks of such blessing? One New Testament writer describes the joy as “inexpressible and filled with glory.” God’s good news unfolds this message of the Bible, making clear its wonder and how that joy can become ours.