A mother and daughter were packing away things after Christmas when they came upon this cardboard nativity scene. It had been in the family for years and was greatly treasured. After wrapping it, the mother went to get bubble wrap to keep it doubly safe.
When she returned she was horrified to find the daughter standing, a knife in one hand and the cardboard nativity in the other, a big hole cut in the back and a big hole in the carpet.
The mother cried, “What have you done? Why would you cut a hole in the nativity scene?”
The little girl was shocked. She said, “Mama, we were getting ready to wrap it up and put it in a box and we had to make a way for Jesus to get out!”
It is a strange story, but a true story. Have you and I made a way for Jesus to get out of Christmas and into the New Year, into the lives that need him? How do we begin to share the good news with others?
First of all, look around. The mission field begins at our door. Did you know that in Uganda a higher percentage of people are Christian than in America? You have a better chance of running into a Christian there than here.
Look around at the people God has put in your life that are not Christian—your family, your neighbors, and your friends. Then look up. Pray for those on your list. Ask God to show you what to say and do to reach and win them. One way is to ask, “Where do you go to church?” It offends no one and opens the door for conversation. You don’t have to answer all their questions, just answer the main question—tell them what Jesus means to you.
Most people belong to the church because someone invited them. And 9 out of 10 of the un-churched say they would attend if invited. What a wonderful way to let Jesus out of Christmas into the New Year!
Today people are searching as never before for something to give life meaning.
Begin today. Let Jesus out.
In the words of the poet, Howard Thurman:
When the song of angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are departed,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Chr i st ma s begins.
Rev. Clyde Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church in Temple where he served as senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several Central Texas newspapers.