Reaching Family Members
Making the Transition From Fruitcake to Eternity
December 1, 2001 - "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
—Luke 2:10, KJV
by Nancy A. Grisham
On a recent Christmas I gave my nephew a book about seeking God. My nephew opened it, smiled and asked, "How did you know?" I didn't; God did. Today my nephew is still seeking, and that's OK, because coming to Jesus can be a process.
It's Christmas, and we want to reach our nonbelieving family members—so how do we make the transition from fruitcake to eternity? How do we effectively communicate the real story of Christmas? By taking one step at a time. It can be easy and nonthreatening in the context of our relationships.
With a little sensitivity, some risk-taking and a deep breath we can make a difference this Christmas. God is the only sovereign One in evangelism, and He wants us to follow His lead. Here are a few tips to help you follow the Leader this Christmas and help make a difference for all eternity.
Prayer is the spadework of evangelism—pray for God to send believers to your family members this Christmas, believers who will represent Jesus to them. And be prepared for God to send you too.
Be relaxed, be flexible, be nice! Christmas is an opportunity to be an example of being in the world but not of the world. Peace—not stress—is a voice that is welcomed in the family swirl of the holidays. If your family saw peace in you every time they looked at you, do you think that would make a holiday statement to them?
Give gifts related to your family members' interests. It's a great opportunity to speak love to the hearts of your loved ones—in a "language" that they can understand. You may want to give Christian books or music CDs. But this may not be what they want to receive. If you give Christian books or music CDs, you may want to include another gift too, such as Christmas candy or gift certificates.
On a recent Christmas I gave a book on family values by a Christian author, along with a nice "regular" gift—both gifts were appreciated.
Ask, "Will you go to church with me?" Go ahead, invite your family members! The words are simple. Be light-hearted and excited about that special Christmas program. Offer to pick them up. Take them out for a meal or for dessert afterward. They will appreciate your kindness. Make it a family evening that they don't want to miss.
Send Christmas Cards
Send Christmas cards but note what they communicate—reindeer, red birds, a Santa Claus. Is your name imprinted in gold?
Why not send cards that focus on Jesus without being "churchy"? Sending such cards is one more opportunity to communicate the Person of Christ. Include a brief note to let the recipients know that you care enough to make it personal.
This Christmas be intentional and pray, asking God to lead you to take the steps to reach your family. Believe that God will use you to make a difference—a difference that will matter for all of eternity.
After all, that's what Christmas is for—to make a difference for Jesus.