Using Christmas for the Community

For Christians the Christmas season is an opportunity to reflect on and rejoice in the coming of Jesus as a baby in the little town of Bethlehem. And while that is sometimes considered by those outside the church, it is not usually their main focus. While the “reason for the season” may not be everyone’s reason, many of our community members are considering common words like joy, hope, gratitude, and generosity.

I would argue that one of the best ways to engage with the community is to consider maximizing these words. Help people flesh out what they mean by these common Christmas words. The community knows “tis the season to be jolly,” but do they know where true joy comes from? The community is aware that hoping and wishing for good tidings and merriment are expected as you check out at the grocery store, but do they know that eternal hope is only found in Jesus? The community knows to be thankful for all of the gifts they have received, but do they live in a constant state of gratitude for the permanent gift of grace given through Christ? The community knows that Christmas means they are supposed to be generous, but do they know that generosity is exemplified in Jesus laying down His life for His friends?

Let’s help the community this Christmas season by displaying Jesus, not just the expected seasonal do-good activity. Yes, bake the cookies and give them to your neighbor. Yes, serve at the food pantry. Yes, say, “Merry Christmas” at the checkout counter. But offer something more. Offer Jesus!

Pastors, preach truth this season. Help your church members by pointing them to joy in Jesus, hope in Jesus, the gratitude of Jesus, and the generosity of Jesus. Provide opportunities for your church members to invite others to join with them in the celebrations of the season. A Christmas night of worship, a Christmas meal, and a Christmas Eve candlelight service are all examples of opportunities you could encourage your members to participate in and bring others with them.

Use the opportunities Christmas presents as a way to show others what Christmas is really about.

Author: Chad Hunsberger, Lead Pastor, Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Ridgeland, MS