The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who is a pastor. I was shocked to hear that he and his church don't celebrate Christmas! Maybe it’s because I’m from England, but I’d never heard of Christians not celebrating Christmas. Yes, the date of Christmas may not be the actual birth date of Christ. Yes, we are always battling with a culture of consumerism which has turned Christmas into a money machine, however, Christmas is the most incredible opportunity there is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. For some people it is one of two times a year that they will set foot in a church. For some people it is the only time they will listen to a song with a Christian theme. This Christmas myself and a few other Christians have been given a unique opportunity. It all started when we began to volunteer one day a week with the after school program at our local community center. After doing this for a few months, being very open about our faith in Jesus Christ, the directors of the center came to us with a request. They wanted to know if we would teach their kids about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas. We naturally wanted to know why and our good friend who works at the center explained. She had announced a question to the kids, “Who knows whose birthday is coming up soon?” and was shocked by the response “SANTA CLAUS!” She concluded that the kids need to be taught about who Jesus is and what the Bible says. She couldn’t think of anyone better to teach than us at Steps Ministry. What an opportunity! Think about YOUR community, YOUR neighbors, YOUR family members. They NEED to hear about the truth of Christ. God is waiting for you to be available to him. Many claim that it’s all irrelevant and they don’t need God or Jesus or Church. But deep down there is a longing in the heart of every man and woman for the Jesus of Christmas. These kids in South Buffalo are going to hear about Him, all because we made ourselves available to God. (Matt. 5:13) I’m sure God could find a better person to do this than me, but He’s only able to work through those who make themselves available to Him. I’m sure that teenage Mary could have told the angel a whole bunch of excuses why she couldn’t be God’s mother, but she didn’t! Instead she said, “I'm the Lord's maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.” (Luke 1:38 The Message). Are you available to God this Christmas?
Ben Tagg is Director of Steps Ministry in South Buffalo.