Christmas is very nearly upon us. Many Christians and churches view it as the great opportunity of the year to reach out to others with the great message of Jesus. Their argument is that at this time of year, people will actually listen to the Christian message because it is after all CHRISTmas.
My question in response to this is; are they really listening? For many people, coming into church at Christmas has got little to do with a desire to hear the message of the grace of God shown to mankind in and through Jesus Christ. What they are interested in is adding in the religious element to make sure they complete the package of having what they believe to be the “perfect Christmas”. And a nice Christmas service with a few carols sung and a message to either ignore or endure fits the bill. So they have come and gone and we think we got such great numbers at our Christmas service, but actually nothing was really achieved.
But what happens? The “perfect” Christmas was not quite as perfect as was hoped. Once again, like last year and the year before, the hype was not matched by reality. There were the usual family arguments. and the games and the TV soon got so boring. And then there was too much food and drink.
So we move on to January. we have a deflated people and then they have to face getting back to work. The days are short and there is no longer the hype about the party season to relieve the doom. Hear this from a Daily Telegraph reporter regarding the most depressing day of the year.
The third Monday of January has been awarded the gloomy title due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills,
So is this not the time when most people are listening?. Now they are no longer being duped by the propaganda about Christmas; they are tasting something of the reality of life and realising how empty and hopeless it is. Is this not the time when they will listen to the wonderful gospel message which gives hope meaning and purpose?
My basic point then is: should not Christians and churches be reviewing their strategy. Yes please tell of the incarnation and the wonders of that message at Christmas time. But should we not be think about how we can bring the great gospel message to people in the “depressing days of Janaury”?
P.S. And as a postscript, as a non-Christmas-celebrating friend once said to me, when have you ever heard of someone including a Christmas service or something to do with Christmas in their testimony as to how they came to Christ?