'Tis the Season!

Seriously, when was the last time you saw a headline that read, “Man shot at cocktail party because he talked about religion?” This has to be a rarity, especially within the United States. Yet somewhere along the way, most of us have been led to believe that you just don’t talk politics or religion with people. Politics, I can give or take. But who do you think the leader of this idea of not talking about religion might actually be? If you guessed Satan, you are right. Who else has so much to gain if we actually follow this untruth and never talk about our faith to strangers, co-workers, friends and family? On the flipside though, who has the most to lose if we do not share our faith? Those same strangers, co-workers, friends and family. They lose the opportunity to hear about the gospel and the free gift of salvation offered by Him through His amazing grace.
I admit I often tiptoed in an out of this precarious situation. Whenever my husband and I attended events, client dinners and office events, I remember saying to myself, “Okay, please do not say anything that might offend someone or make my husband upset.” On many occasions, it was challenging to say the least...especially when I was in seminary.
I recently read an article in a local newspaper about a woman who had moved to our area from New York. In it, she said her hardest transition was coming to a state that spoke so openly about religion. In the article she was quoted as saying, “I have received more invitations to attend church with people than to have dinner at their houses.” While this woman may find it somewhat strange that people invite her to church, but not to dinner, I find it refreshing. I find it encouraging that people around here are putting such effort into leading someone to Jesus.
The holiday season presents each one of us with an opportunity to share our faith. There are family gatherings, school holiday parties, office holiday parties and lots of charitable opportunities. These are times when people come together and conversation ensues. Some of you already have pre-set rules about what to talk about and to whom. Family dynamics and office politics are tricky to navigate, but I challenge each one of you to be more intentional about what you talk about during these times.
The Bible says that, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) What better time to talk about what you are thankful for than the THANKSgiving season? Are we only thankful for material possessions and earthly relationships or are we thankful for the Creator and the Provider of everything? 
At the same time we are celebrating Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is already fired up and ready to go. Stores are decorated and stuffed full of stuff. Parties are being planned to celebrate this festive season. However, how many are actually reflecting on what the season stands for? There would not even be a Christmas season without the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – “And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.” (Luke 2:6) How many of us throw parties during the month of our children’s births, but fail to honor them? My best guess is this does not happen very often, if ever.
Somewhere along the way, Satan has led believers and unbelievers alike to forget the stories of thanksgiving (and I am not just talking about the Pilgrims here) and the birth of Jesus Christ. And even if you say that you have not forgotten the stories, he has done a great job of keeping us silent.
By our words and actions, we should never seek to intentionally offend anyone. But take note “anyone” also includes God. By failing to give Him the glory, recognition and praise he most definitely deserves, we run the risk of offending Him. Even more dire than this is failing to recognize and confess our offense against Him. We rarely seek reconciliation or forgiveness from those we do not know we offend.
I pray this holiday opens up a new season like never before of openly sharing your thankfulness and the true story of what Jesus’ birth means. Do not allow Satan to fill you with doubt about whether it is okay or not to talk about your faith. It most definitely is okay. We may not die for our faith here in this country, but there are many in other countries that do. Let us not fail to recognize the sacrifice made for each one of us….”For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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1 Comment

Gil - November 13th, 2012 at 1:13pm

When I lived in Lubbock faith was very prevalent and very easy to talk about. There is a lot of faith my community and where I work (Baylor health care) but generally it's tougher in the "big city." Something to keep praying on.