5 Practical ways to begin the conversation
–Reading Luke chapters 2, 23 and 24 with your protégé. – Reading the nativity and passion narrative are helpful ways to streamline the conversation towards the Jesus Christ’s person and work. These are some of the many scriptures that can be used to point your protégé to what Christmas is all about.
–Help them give a gift to someone else. – Remind your protégé that Christmas is not primarily about gifts that they receive. Rather Christmas is about God’s incredible gift of His son Jesus Christ. Allow your protégé to be the giver to model sacrifice (the biblical definition of love) as seen in the gospel.
–Serve the poor. – One strong motif seen in the Christmas narrative is the fact that Jesus’ ways are not like ours as it pertains to being among the rich and popular. While in our flesh most humans clamor for high positions among the rich and famous, Jesus took on the lowly position of being a carpenter’s kid born in a feeding trough. While serving the poor with your protégé, consider making the connection to Jesus’ poverty during the nativity.
–Take them to see the Christmas lights. – The Dallas Morning News has recommended (click here for link http://bit.ly/1FOamH6 ) 10 places to see Christmas lights throughout the Dallas Fort Worth Area. Consider sharing the gospel as you look at the illuminated pieces of Christmas symbolism.
—Ask them “what is the meaning of the season?” – In a culture full of counterfeits the true meaning of the season often gets lost. During your next hang out simply ask them the question and be prepared to point them to Jesus and his message.
5 Interesting aspects of the Nativity Narrative that can point towards the gospel or its implications
–The Virgin Birth –This aspect of the narrative is interesting both for cultural and theological reasons. Most protégés are well aware of “where babies come from”, so to present the message that we believe this baby was not conceived through traditional or natural means should come as a surprise and lead to hearty discussion. This is also an important theological point because it delineates Jesus’ humanity from other humans because he was born without sinful human linage.
–The Giver of the gift – John 3:16 says (altogether now!) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” So often, when we think of this verse the emphasis shifts to the receiver of the gift, the “whosoever.” This Christmas season let’s try to encourage our protégés to look towards the giver of the gift and not just the recipients.
–The Shepherds – One aspect of the nativity narrative that often gets overlooked is that the angels God glorifying announcement (Luke 2:8-20) was to the shepherds. By most historic accounts, Shepherds were looked at as social outcasts they were by no means of high socio-cultural status. Other than being in “the same region” (v.8) there was no reason why they were chosen to partake in this awesome experience. This aspect of the narrative shows us that God does not delineate based on social stratification. The good news that Jesus Christ the Lord was born was as essential for the shepherd to hear as it was the king.
–The Manger – Christian Rapper Timothy Brindle makes it clear in the song “Humility of Christ” when he says “born in a feeding trough with breeding cows and feces piles, the scene was foul! It wasn’t fancy but raunchy, how the son of God was born next to camels and donkeys.” Brindle illustrates the juxtaposition of the Lord God almighty dwelling with farm animals. The manger is one of the first times in Jesus’ humanity, where “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Phil. 2:6b) The manger is a gospel lead in because it presents the one in whom Christians worship as not needing human hands (Acts 17:25) to affirm his deity. God is God in a manger, God is God in a mansion.
–The Name Jesus – In Matthew 1:20 – 21, an angel of the Lord appeared to Jesus’ earthly father Joseph and told her what to name the baby. Verse 21, says “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” In 1st Corinthians 15, Paul explains to his audience that the aspect of the Christian faith that is of first importance is the forgiveness of sins. By interacting with your protégé on the definition for Jesus’ name, the mentor will be able to quickly transition into the core of the gospel message.
Zach Middleton, Relationship Coordinator