How could you make Christmas truly joyful?

How could you make Christmas truly joyful?

Joy. It’s a word that starts appearing everywhere in the lead-up to Christmas. Christmas is the season of joy (and perhaps also ‘peace’ and ‘goodwill’ and ‘sale’).

And it’s not without reason that joy is associated with Christmas. Indeed, in the Christmas story, when the angel announces Christ’s birth to the shepherds, it was with these words: “I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

The celebration of Christmas in 2019 gives us good opportunities to join the angel in communicating the message of good news that is meant for all people and that can produce in them great joy. Even though the world has largely turned Christmas into a secular holiday, most people still realize that Christmas has something to do with Christianity and Jesus—at least historically. And perhaps more than at any other time of the year, non-Christian friends and family seem willing to accept some ‘religious’ input or prodding from us.

So here are some quick ideas on how you can communicate the good news of great joy to all your people this Christmas. Why not pick one or two and have a go?

  1. Send a Christmas card and perhaps pop a Christmas gospel tract inside as well (ideal for people you don’t see much).
  2. Gift-wrap a copy of The Essential Jesus for a friend or family member with a note saying “thought you might like to read the biography of the baby we celebrate at Christmas”—and later ask if they’d like to read more of the Bible with you (Word One-to-One or You, Me and the Bible are great resources to use for this).
  3. Another book you could gift wrap is The Curious Sign—a short and fun book that explores why Jesus was born in a manger: “Hey, have you ever wondered why Jesus was born in a manger? Read this!”
  4. Prepare a small gift bag containing a treat, a Christmas card and a tract for those you see frequently, such as neighbours, teachers, shop-owners and co-workers.
  5. Host some playdates where you bake cookies with your child’s friends and informally talk about Jesus and Christmas.
  6. In conversation at a Christmas function, ask the question: “What does Christmas mean to you?”, and be prepared to explain your answer ("Like most people, I love the family, food and fun of Christmas—and for me those things are part of celebrating the day BC became AD").
  7. Hand out a Christmas tract at your Christmas church services.
  8. Give the kids who attend a Christmas church service a small gift, like a copy of The Christmas King (an inexpensive kids activity booklet).
  9. Christmas is one of the few times of the year when non-Christians are more likely to go to church, so invite them to come with you. You could preempt your invitation by giving them the Why I'm not going to church this Christmas leaflet to help start a discussion about any reservations they may have.
  10. If emailing friends or family, put a URL in your signature, such as www.moretochristmas.com.

And, of course, pray that God will open the hearts and minds of the people to whom you are trying to communicate the good news, that they might find true joy in that message.

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Ian Carmichael

Ian has also been with Matthias Media from the beginning (1988). Co-leading with Tony for many of these years, in 2017, as Tony took study leave, Ian accepted the Board's invitation to take on the role of CEO. Ian and his wife, Stephanie, have two adult children and are part of Chatswood Presbyterian church in Sydney.