Got your attention, didn’t I?
There is something I wished to say in connection with these two lovely British Christmas cakes, baked and photographed by my friend Meryl Goodwin Dawes. Yum! Wish we could join her and husband for Christmas tea and these cakes, several states away from where we live.
My thoughts have to do with the “war on Christmas” that some of our fellow Christians claim is occurring. Their issue is that not all stores wish them a “Merry Christmas” as they shop. Some store personnel say “Happy holidays” because not everybody celebrates Christmas in December.
There is a point there, because, even though Chanukah (Jewish) happened in November this particular year, there is still Kwanzaa, starting on December 26. Not sure when Diwali (HIndu) and Ramadan (Muslim) fall this year, but even if not in December, the Hindus and Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas.
Remember, the Apostle Paul, who first took the gospel outside of the Jewish culture, met people within their own cultures, finding commonalities with them in order to show them how the gospel transcends all cultures. I don’t really think asking a Hindu about Diwali or wishing a Muslim a happy Ramadan will either: a) turn us into pagans or b) send the recipient of our good will to hell. The point is that no one is ever saved by saying “Merry Christmas” anyway. Maybe we Christians should get over ourselves and our need to claim to be the dominant culture in the U.S. and realize there are lots and lots of unsaved people who need a gospel witness. Beginning in a winsome way with them (like the Apostle Paul) would be a great thing to do!!!
Not everything about Christmas has to be hyperspiritualized either. These fun, delicious cakes don’t have manger scenes on them and the one that is to be gifted will probably not be presented with a gospel tract. If we are living a consistent witness before our friends and neighbors, we should not have to bend over backwards to slip the gospel message in at Christmastime. There is a time God leads us to do that and there is a time we are trying to do it in our own flesh to just “check the block of being a witness” that can be very awkward to all involved.
My neighbor is going through chemotherapy right now. Far as I know, he is unsaved (we have talked about this in the past and he has not indicated any changes since then). He actually was one of the first people to make us a meal when I had my chemotherapy. So, of course, we are going to make him and his wife a meal to go along with their Christmas treat this year. We will then take it over and visit. I have no preconceived ideas for how the talk will go. I will pray beforehand. If God opens a door, I will present the gospel again. If he is exhausted and can barely keep his eyes open, I will not go through the gospel just to check a block.
Point being: I have already shared with him. He knows he can talk to me about spiritual things. I continue to pray for him.
Sometimes we Christians live more to impress other Christians with our spirituality (how many gospel tracts we gave out this week, how many gospel presentations we gave this month) than to serve our Lord. His Holy Spirit will lead us in the good works He foreordained for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 says just that. Certainly a strong, unwavering gospel witness is one of them.
But let’s make sure it is tied to lovingly engaging people under the leading of the Holy Spirit, and not to some artificial system we devise in which we do good works just so we can broadcast our totals for the week to our friends and feel superior to them if their totals are less.
And let’s make sure our gospel witness is also not tied to false “wars on Christmas” in which we go into stores with chips on our shoulder, ready to tell off hardworking cashiers who have already put in a 13 hour shift today! Jesus and Paul were winsome in their witness to the poor, downtrodden folk around them. We should learn to be the same.