‘Let Jesus out’
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. She cried, “What have you done? Why would you cut a hole in the nativity scene? You know how much it means to me and our family.”
The little girl was shocked. She thought she had done something good. “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. And it raises the question, “Have you and I made a way for Jesus to get out of Christmas and into our New Year? Out of Christmas and into the lives of those who need him? This New Year is a wonderful time for you and me to make a commitment to share the good news with others.
Begin by looking around. The mission field begins at our front 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 in Temple, Texas. 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 to reach and win them. The easiest way that I find is to simply ask, “Where do you go to church?” That question offends no one and it opens the door for conversation. And remember, you don’t have to answer all of their questions. Just answer the main question—tell them what Jesus means to you.
Most of the people I know who belong to the church belong because someone invited them. Don’t you find it so? And nine out of ten say they would attend if they were invited. What a wonderful way to let Jesus out!
There are so many empty lives in our world today. People are searching as never before for something to give life meaning, and you and I have the answer in Jesus Christ. Begin today. Let Jesus out of Christmas into your New Year.
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 Christmas begins.
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.
“This is the victory that overcomes the world—our faith.” (I John 5:4)