In my car one day last week, with the radio on in the background, my ears suddenly tuned into an interview about the release of the new Christmas advert from John Lewis. (In the interests of balance, other Christmas adverts are available … many of them!) I admit to being curious about the advert each year (although usually the first viewing satisfies that) so I turned up the radio to listen more closely.
Then the comment was made that the release of this much talked about advert each year marks the beginning of Christmas. “Christmas has always been about an appointment in time,” said the representative from John Lewis “and the release of the advert is now that appointment.” Apologies if you were on the road at the time and witnessed me swerve sharply! While John Lewis may like to think of itself as at the forefront in retail advertising, in my mind this view is 2,017 years out of touch.
The thing is, you and I may be very clear about the particular ‘appointment in time’ that is the starting point for every Christmas there has ever been, but many aren’t. The phrase ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ expresses the truth but it’s become very trite and can sound hugely patronising. So how can we, as God’s people called to spread news of his love and forgiveness expressed in the birth, death and resurrection of his precious son, share this truth with a freshness and interest that rivals the release of any Christmas ad?
The answer is simple. In Romans 8 Paul encourages us, “Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you.” How amazing is that! The same power that brought Jesus back to life lives in us. That means that as we walk with God we can do anything and that includes telling others about our amazing friend Jesus, his birth, his death and resurrection, and the real meaning of Christmas!
So as we see the commercial build-up to festivities all around us, let’s not be timid in sharing what it’s really all about. Let’s pray that Jesus ,“who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3), enables us to use even the seasonal creativity of advertisers to our advantage.
In a couple of weeks’ time we’ll be visiting people in our area telling them about our many services over Christmas. We can welcome family, friends and neighbours to come and hear of God’s love. Christmas is quite literally a God-given opportunity – let’s use it!
With much love