And we’re not alone in this. All around the world, churches are holding special services and events with the express purpose of sharing the gift of the gospel with people who do not yet know Christ.
Our church family has worked diligently to invite guests—their family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, as well as reaching into every home in our community with a personal invitation. And we pray that guests do indeed come.
But what then?
Here are five gifts I pray every guest who comes to our campus over this next month will find:
I pray that each guest will sense warmth and acceptance and through it see the love of Christ.
There will be people who serve on our hospitality team who will welcome them with a smile and cookies and hot chocolate. But the place a guest will really find (or not find) love and acceptance is at their seat—the person sitting next to them.
If you, during this Christmas season, find a guest next to you or near you, welcome him or her. Give the warmth and acceptance you want others to show any guest you may bring.
I hope our guests will sense the awe of our church family over the Christmas story.
I want them to see that this isn’t old to us. It isn’t just an event we “put on” to get them in. It’s real, and it’s awe-inspiring—that God would come to live with us.
3. Christian Music
Our choir and orchestra isn’t singing and playing to impress, but to magnify Christ.
Some of the songs will even be the same as someone will have heard at the mall at some point this season. (Christmas carols are amazing like that.) But if we are doing it right, it won’t really be the same. It will be so different. It will come from a choir and a congregation truly worshipping Jesus—not just singing familiar words. I pray our guests sense the greatness of God through our worship.
4. Bible Preaching
Who knows but that this might be the only time any single guest hears preaching. I want it to be full of Scripture and to point them to Christ.
This will be my thirty-third year to preach Christmas messages, and each year, my understanding of God’s grace through Christmas grows. I don’t study less with each passing year, but more.
This is the gift—the unspeakably wonderful, miraculous gift—of Christmas. God humbled Himself to come to us, be born in a manger, give his life on the cross to pay for our sins, and was raised again. Today, He offers salvation as a free gift, and He uses us—His people—to share this gift with the world.
I pray that each special service, each act of love, each moment of awe, each song, each message, each effort of God’s people will lead toward someone receiving Christ this Christmas.