Because I have to be honest here and say that the fluffy 'baby Jesus' stuff and the provision of that Hallmark™ moment when the tea towels, wings, stars and blue dress are donned and we have the tiny tots standing around the crib singing and the adults sniffing and snapping is actually something I heartily approve of. But if that's all we provide during the run up to Christmas than I have to say that we are not doing enough!
I'm going to try and lay it out for you as succinctly and clearly as I possibly can:
Jesus is indeed the reason for the season - BUT - if you think that using that trite little phrase means you're doing it right, then think again because people need to know the WHY that goes with the WHAT that you've presented to them!
It is not enough to get them into the building (even if it does have a Christmas tree).
It is not enough to dress them up and do the Nativity story (I know that might be a shock!).
It's not enough to put up a Poster and blow the dust of the Nativity set either!!
What we need to be telling them goes like this (but is probably sounder than what I is!).
Are you sitting uncomfortably?
We were separated from God by the things we call sin (shorthand for all the wrongs we commit) and these wrongs not only destroyed the relationship with Him but with family, friends and neighbours too.
‘If only God would come down here and sort it all out,’ people cried. And so God heard and did just that - Jesus is God made visible.
‘If only God were one of us so He could understand the pressures and trials that being human bring,’ they cried – Jesus is God made man.
‘If only God would wipe the slate clean and set us free from everything that separates us from Him and those around us,’ – Jesus came to wipe the slate clean, to remove from us all the problems that being wrong brings and to set us free.
I don’t know about you but if Argos has something in their catalogue this Christmas that offered those three things ---
Wouldn’t you want it for those you love?
Of course you would – and that’s the good news – the tidings of great joy because as we celebrate His birth in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago, that is exactly what is on offer to you today!
Jesus is the invisible God made visible; made man; coming to bring peace:
Peace with God
Peace with family and friends
Peace with that neighbour or workmate (you know who I mean)
So this Christmas, why not come to a church building and engage with the living stones that are Church to welcome Jesus, the Christ, into your life (and the lives of those you love – bring them too)
And get the ultimate Christmas present (for free) this year?
That's what we need to be telling them ;-)
We don't need cute - we don't need gimmicks - we don't need numbers