Thursday, 15 December 2016 16:27

An Intentional Missional Christmas

An Intentional Missional Christmas

Have you ever noticed that life naturally drifts towards self-indulgence and self-interest? Now many years into my journey with Christ I can’t say it’s any easier to assuage my flesh and live a truly selfless life. Sadly and painfully the Spirit’s work in my life is revealing more of my broken selfish state. So when the commercialized Christmas messages start piling up before my advent readings begin, it can be easy to drift down the path of least resistance.

This Christmas I want to live in such a way that people experience the joy of Emmanuel, God with us, I want to live an intentional missional Christmas. Here are some ideas I’m praying and processing through as I seek to lead my family to live into this season of hope, and as we seek to share that hope with others.

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1 – Feast on Jesus through an Advent Reading!

You can’t commend what you don’t cherish and you can’t pass on what you haven’t first received yourself. If you are binging on the cultural consumer Christmas that’s all around us you’ll have no real hope to share. We are spending time in our family devotions doing an advent reading that is not only inviting us into the story, but is challenging us to apply these truths in our daily lives.

 

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2 – Invite friends who don’t know Jesus into your Christmas Festivities.

The blurry lines between cultural Christmas and the true reason for the season can lead to opportunities to naturally invite your friends who don’t yet know Jesus into spaces that they may be more open to during this season. A few years ago we attended a live nativity at a local church and we invited some friends to join us. Sure we could have asked them to go look at a Christmas light display with us, but this was a chance to include them in an event that shared the story of the birth of Jesus. Missional living allows people to see and experience a different reality shaped by a different set of values. Let’s invite our friends who don’t know Jesus into the story that changed everything.

 

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3 – Don’t let the busyness of Christmas keep you from connecting with people.

The social and family pressures for the perfect Christmas can be enormous and if we let them overtake us we can miss out on many of the blessings of the season. The decorations, parties, family gatherings, and shopping lists can quickly fill-up our calendars leaving us exhausted from all the busyness and taking our focus off of the people all around us. As you seek to put people first , plan towards opportunities that will allow you to connect with people who you are close to and seek ways to connect with new people in your neighborhood and community. My family has hosted cookie exchanges, gone caroling, and hosted parties to bring people together at Christmas.

 

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4 – If it’s better to give then receive… GIVE!

No I’m not just talking about making sure there are presents under the tree, but that is a fun part of giving. Each year we have come to this season with a budget in mind so we can stay within our means, but also so we can factor in a giving opportunity that we pray about and give towards. We’ve seen God move us towards unique giving opportunities locally and globally and always with people or ministries we know and have been connected with relationally. This year we have some friends locally that lead a ministry that we have grown to love and we are excited to give in support of the work that God is doing through them.

It’s true that there’s a season for everything, but I hope you’ll join me in this season of moving towards an intentional missional Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

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J
ohn Ward is the Director of Mobilization at Encompass World Partners and leads a team that seeks to connect and mobilize people and churches that are following Jesus into the missional work He’s doing to make disciples of all nations. You can contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You may also want to check out…

-The Great Debate Surrounding the Great Commission: Making Sense of Missions vs. Missional
-Missions Internships with Encompass
-Encompass Prayer Guide