It’s getting to be Christmastime and everyone is starting to get into the holiday spirit. This means shopping for gifts, baking Christmas cookies, wearing ugly sweaters, listening to holiday music and of course, attending Christmas parties and family get-togethers. It’s only natural that some of us may be intimidated by houses filled with so many people that we may only see a handful of times each year. What can add to that level of intimidation are lifestyle differences that you may have with your relatives: probably in the case of most NET blog readers, religious opinions. We all have at least one relative who no longer practices the faith, or, for whatever reason, has never been to church. Here are a few tips on how to talk with that relative or friend to ensure that everyone has a very Merry Christmas.

  1. Remember that we are all sinners and that in God’s eyes we are all loved equally as His children. We are not any better than anyone else, no matter how many hours we put in at the soup kitchen or how many rosaries we pray.
  2. Relate to them on a human level. Take interest in what they’ve been doing this year and what interests them. Some questions you can ask are: “How has work been for you lately?”, “What series are you currently watching on Netflix?”, “What’s the last movie you saw and how was it?”, or if all else fails: “What have you been doing in your free time?” The hope here is that after they have answered the question they will then in turn ask, “How about you?”, which is a perfect opportunity to tell them about the volunteer work you’ve been doing, the Scripture you’ve been meditating on lately, your most recent prayer devotion, or however it is that you choose to serve the Lord. Approaching your relatives with genuine interest and excitement will definitely help to portray the joy you find in Jesus and how a prayerful life is well worth the time spent. It’s also a great way to inform them of ways they can pray or ministries they can get involved in.
  3. Spending quality time is a great way to show others that you care about them and give them an example of at least one joyful Christian in their lives. Board games and card games at family get-togethers and Christmas parties are a great opportunity to have intentional and authentic fun. If this doesn’t happen naturally at whatever gathering you are at, you could always bring a deck of cards and ask, “Anyone want to play a game of euchre?” or whatever your game of choice is. This way you can easily engage multiple people in intentional conversation without it being awkward, as any pauses will be filled in naturally by the game. If your gathering is centered around a movie or a sporting event on TV, then feel free to watch the game and have conversation centered around it. Some questions you could ask centered around college football could be “Are we going to watch Alabama vs. Clemson again?”, “Does UCF deserve to be in a better bowl game because they’re undefeated?”, or “How will Ohio State do without Urban Meyer?” After having any of these conversations, feel free to use step 2.
  4. Always feel free to end your conversations with the question, “How can I pray for you?” More than anything, people just like to see that you truly care. This is a great way to demonstrate that you care about them and that you want to help them with whatever it is that they are struggling with.
  5. Finally, remember that you are not responsible to save the souls of those around you. Jesus is pursuing each person with more wisdom, truth and love than you are.  We are merely servants of Him.
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