When we were in Haryana as missionaries, during December one of my neighbours said: “I will come on Christmas day to see your Christmas tree.” I said: “Come I will give you a surprise.”
I did not intend to have a Christmas tree and decorations as I did not think they were important. A few more people in our neighbourhood also wanted to see a Christmas tree. That made us think. We found a pine tree branch and set it in our home and decorated it. It was on the front balcony of our house. Many would pass by and stop to look at the tree. We would invite them in and tell them about first Christmas in Bethlehem. Then on 24th December, we had a Christmas event inviting friends and neighbours. We sang a few songs, listened to one or two testimonies, explained about Christmas and gave a gospel message. After that, we used to have sweets as many of our neighbours do not eat cake (as it contains egg) and tea. We said that those who wanted to take a New Testament were welcome to do so.
The Christmas Tree created us an opportunity for us to share the gospel. We did it for many years as long as we were in Haryana. Many of our friends followed our method and created opportunities to share and develop a friendship in the community.
In many cities in the West, there are awards for the best Christmas Trees. Unfortunately, Santa Claus, stars, tree and these traditions have reached people before they have been introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ. So, what would be the best strategy? Ride on those worldly elements to offer the truth. Traditions could give us strategies to reach people more effectively.
As believers, we are like palm trees planted in the courts of the Lord (Psalms 92:13) and are blessed planted trees that are evergreen and give fruit in season. (Psalms 1)
Let us use all the opportunities God gives this Christmas to share the gospel!
#jnmanokaran #insights #christmastrees
by Rev. Dr J.N. Manokaran