Luke 2:15-18 NIV
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.“
I love that the message and announcement of the birth of Jesus wasn’t first entrusted to an elite group of people. These were not polished, professional communicators, or religious leaders, or paid “journalists”. They were shepherds, who essentially became the first evangelists as they spread the word, reporting what they had seen and heard.
Just yesterday, my son came home after spending the afternoon at a birthday party. The first thing he wanted to do was tell me all about it. He went down the list of who all was there and what they did. He described (in great detail) what the place was like and how they played on this trampoline and then that one. Then they all headed over to this Ninja-Warrior type obstacle course. Oh! And then they all slammed some basketballs. And finally, they ate. And ate. Lots of pizza and of course, cake. And root beer. He can get so animated. He’ll talk with his hands (I wonder where he gets that from) and he’ll even start physically reenacting play-by-plays right in front of me.
As I read today’s passage and thought about Luke (my son), I realized. What he did and how he did it is so similar to what the work of evangelism is like. I think we can overcomplicate it sometimes. We don’t have to become scholars or professional communicators before we tell others about Jesus, our faith, or what we have experienced in Him. The most compelling “evangelism” is when we simply share with others about what we have seen and heard.
“We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20 NLT
“We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard…” 1 John 1:3a NLT
Okay, but what if they ask us questions we don’t know the answers to? So what? Could I have asked Luke questions he didn’t know the answers to about the place he went? Sure. But wouldn’t my questions speak more to my curiosity than they would about his “lack of knowledge” about the place? Of course. My questions would then almost prove that he had done something right to peek my interest. And I would then have to go and see for myself.
I share this because truth is, Christmas is a beautiful time of year for a divine introduction. There’s a door of opportunity when people’s hearts are more receptive and open to the message behind the season. But how will they know lest we tell them what we have “seen and heard”? How will they experience it lest we invite them to “come and see”?
If you need an example of how this worked for someone, that was me. On the other end. One Christmas season, 18 years ago. I wasn’t walking with Christ and on the outside it may have looked as if everything was fine. But inside, I was empty and hurting while at the same time wondering if all this comfort, hope and joy could be real. That’s when a friend, a co-worker invited me to “come and see”. She was no scholar, no Bible teacher. And I had so many questions I wouldn’t have even known where to start. All she told me was about how being in that environment (church) had changed her life. How the music she was listening to had a different…effect on her. And how she was still working things out and had questions of her own, but something had definitely changed for her. In other words, she “evangelized” from her own experience and that opened the door for me to step into a relationship which has changed my life forever.
What have you seen and heard? What do you know about God to be true? This holiday season, ask the Lord to show you opportunities where you can share or invite or introduce. Don’t overcomplicate it. Don’t focus on what you don’t yet know. But trust that the Holy Spirit is moving, always drawing people to Himself. He will lead you and He will give you the words to say. There are people waiting for a miracle. And you and I could be part of it by simply reaching out to them at Christmastime.