Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Go Tell It On The Mountain"1 (Lyrics)
My family has always enjoyed driving around to look at Christmas lights and displays. When we lived in California, USA, there was a neighbourhood that had a longstanding tradition of creating Christmas displays for the public to view. We heard that anyone who bought a house in that neighbourhood had to agree to participate or they wouldn't be allowed to buy. We often sat in long lines waiting our turn to drive through the incredible displays.
When we moved to Arizona, USA, it was important to find out which neighbourhoods that we could visit to keep up our tradition. We soon discovered several that we visit almost every year. One of them is a cul-de-sac of about 15 houses, each with a different theme. At the centre of the cul-de-sac is what we consider to be the best one of all. The owners of the house joined with other members of their church to create a complete Bethlehem village in their backyard. When we step through the gate, we are transported back in time as we walk the path that circles an area in which wooden sheep are grazing. There are multiple displays, each one telling a different part of the Christmas story. Christmas carols play over a loudspeaker and Bible verses are prominently displayed.
It is a huge commitment of time and resources. Church members sit in front of the house, offering hot chocolate and an opportunity to chat for all who are interested. Through this display, thousands are exposed to the gospel message of Christmas.
This family and their church friends are unashamedly sharing the true message of Christmas in the middle of a neighbourhood that doesn't appear to have the same beliefs — most of the other displays in that cul-de-sac are very secular. People come from all over the Phoenix Valley, so they have a huge audience with which to share their faith.
Luke 2:17 – And when [the shepherds] saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. (ESV)
This good news is too good to keep to ourselves!
Most of us can't afford elaborate displays that share the Christmas story, but there are other ways that we can do so:
- Invite friends and family to Christmas Eve services at church. In 2022, my whole family attended, even though several of them would not otherwise go to church. The simple service made it clear Who — and what — Christmas is all about.
- Even simple yard displays can send the right message. My yard is small, but I live on a corner, so I have three "Happy Birthday, Jesus" signs — one at the front, one at the corner, and one at the back. They're hard to ignore when anyone walks or drives by.
- If someone says "Happy holidays", reply with "Merry Christmas!"
- If you send out Christmas cards, make sure that their message is Christ-focused.
- Always be ready to share our story — what does Christmas mean to us?
Prayer: Father, sometimes we're afraid to step out boldly and share our faith or to share why and how we celebrate Your birth. Free us from our fears, and help us to tell the world about the good news of Jesus. Amen.