by Doug Pollock
The temperature is dropping, lights are adorning houses, and indoor tree decorating is at it’s peak. With December 25th quickly approaching, one question is begging to be asked this season: Are you part of the “silent majority”—the large number of Christians who hide their faith behind gingerbread houses and gifts this time of year?
Before you rush to judgment or give a knee-jerk response to this question, please read the following story. It will provide you the context necessary to appropriately respond inwardly and outwardly to this question.
Paul and Lisa, a newly married couple, were heading home to celebrate the holiday season with Lisa’s side of the family. After a June wedding, their honeymoon bliss ended quickly. It didn’t take Paul and Lisa long to realize they needed something greater than themselves to make their marriage work. Fortunately for them after six months of civil war and threats of divorce, an older married couple helped them realize that if Jesus were in control of their lives, He could help the two of them become one. By Thanksgiving, Paul and Lisa truly had something to be thankful for. Their marriage had been saved! Unfortunately, no one else in their entire family system believed in Jesus like they now did. Paul and Lisa were determined to change that over Christmas. As they started their eight-hour drive home, they began to talk about how they were going to share their newfound Christian faith with Lisa’s family. It didn’t take long for them both to conclude that neither felt confident or competent enough to talk about the faith that had turned their lives and marriage around. As they neared their destination, their sense of inadequacy and fear of failure caused them to offer up some 911 prayers to God.
If you were in the back seat of Paul and Lisa’s car that day and they asked you for advice on how to bring up the topic of faith in this “politically correct” world we live in, what would you have told them? Keep thinking about this question; it’s a very important one. But for now, let’s dive back into our story.
On Christmas Day, after all the gifts were opened, Paul and Lisa were casually sitting around catching up with Lisa’s younger sister Karen. They’d heard that Karen was into some kind of new-age religion she had discovered on the college campus. When they asked her how things were going, Karen excitedly told them that she was on a spiritual high due to an angel that had recently appeared to her in a dream. This was the opportunity Paul and Lisa had been hoping for. Before Karen even had a chance to share what the angel had told her, Lisa hijacked the conversation. She passionately informed her sister that the Bible says that the devil masquerades as the angel of light and she didn’t know what she was messing around with.
Once Lisa had finished her sermonette, Paul jumped in. He made sure Karen understood that Jesus was the only true source of light in this world. Paul felt a strange surge of confidence and power as he pronounced other truths he was convinced Karen needed to hear.
After Paul and Lisa finished double-teaming Karen and dump-trucking her with all they knew about Christianity, the room was filled with an awkward silence. The conversation was over before it ever began. Karen got up and left the room in a fit of rage. Paul and Lisa had wounded her so deeply that Karen refused to speak to them the rest of their visit. What’s more, Karen quickly gathered the rest of the family in the kitchen and told them how she had been disrespected, parented, and judged by Paul and Lisa. Lisa’s family decided right then and there to not bring up the subject of religion around the couple ever again. Paul and Lisa’s good intentions produced nothing more than hurt feelings and a resolve on both sides to leave spiritual conversations alone.
Paul and Lisa drove home defeated and discouraged. The very thing they had feared the most had happened. This experience made it easy for them to join the “silent majority” of American Christians who keep their faith to themselves.
Can you identify in any way with Paul and Lisa? If Jesus is the reason for the season, how do you start a spiritual conversation in a natural way with family, friends, or co-workers without turning them off or being labeled as one of “those kind of Christians”? If you or your Christian friends are looking for some help to answer this question this holiday season, you will find the following resources right up your alley. They were created to help God’s people increase the quality and the quantity of their spiritual conversations in practical, doable, and authentic ways. Check them out! You will soon see just how “doable” it is to share your faith with those outside the faith but within your reach this Christmas.
An early Christmas gift: Enjoy this Sample Chapter 2 from God Space where you’ll discover how to avoid 10 spiritual “conversation killers” this Christmas.