I wrote this blog for Christmas starts with Christ…
Despite the biting winter wind she wasn’t allowed a cup of tea mid-shift. Besides, she explained, if she did drink a brew she would only need a wee and that was a big no-no and wasn’t allowed by her boss. She had to stand for four hours without moving, holding a sign with her gloveless, cold shaking hands, an arrow pointing to the nearest Cash for Gold shop. It wasn’t exactly her idea of an ideal job but she had to do it. How else was she to pay for the kids’ Christmas presents?
We chatted for a while and she spoke of how she managed to keep the children’s expectations of Christmas lower by explaining to them the real meaning of Christmas, not all the commercial bling and tat and plastic crud. I smiled; thankful that I had met someone who, like me, knew the reason for the season.
“You see,” she explained, “Christmas is all about the birth of.”
I nodded in agreement waiting for her to finish her sentence.
“Santa Clause. isn’t it.”
Wide-mouthed and lost for words I stood under the Cash for Gold sign contemplating her understanding of a Christmas that celebrated Santa’s birthday.
“What about the nativity?” I finally perked up from my shocked state.
“The nitty watty?” she asked. “What’s that then?!”
I gently explained about the birth of Jesus and the gift of him for her and her family too. She hadn’t thought about Christmas like that before.
This short conversation woke me up once more to the fact that most people around me simply just don’t ‘get’ what Christmas has to do with Christ. I must admit that I love it when people ‘get it’ and when mad creative ideas actually work and spark off people’s imagination as it dawns on them that this good news of Jesus is, well. flipping good!
If you are at a loss with how to show and tell the message of Christmas, have a look at some ideas on my blog: http://www.chrisduffett.com/top5christmasideas/. It includes an idea of hiding the baby Jesus around your community for people to find, as well as a scene of three security guards guarding an empty cot! One idea I did recently was a nativity scene surrounded by rubbish.
One man encouraged me with this comment: “This is the worst sculpture I have ever come across, it’s a rubbish sculpture, worse than Tracey Emin’s bed!”
“Have a closer look I said.” He peered in and saw a small sign among the piles of junk that simply stated: “God became a man.”
“Arrrrh.” he said, “I get it!” I wonder if he would have connected with the absurd truth that a holy God would make His home among our muck if I had preached at him from a distance about the incarnation.
Whatever you do to celebrate the birth of Jesus for the sake of those around you who have yet to ‘get it.’ have joyful fun with this message! Oh, and if you pass a person holding up a sign in your town for ‘cash for gold.’ ask them if they would like a hot drink. Their boss may allow them to partake in such luxuries!
Chris Duffett is a street evangelist and artist who founded The Light Project. He is the author of Big Hearted and currently serves as the city centre chaplain in Peterborough.