Christmas Eve 2012 was nearly two years to the date since he had returned from the Afghanistan frontlines. Craig had been in an unexpected war with himself ever since.
PTSD – four letters that fettered him to the past. A deeply inner trauma – invisible to unsuspecting eyes.
He accepted his wife’s invitation to attend a candlelight church service in faint hope that something good might come of it.
White Flag On Christmas Eve
The celebration began.
During the course of the evening, a light shone brightly on a singer. Her voice was uplifting. But it was her story of faith that restored a soldier’s broken heart.
Craig went against what he had been trained to do.
He took a knee.
Raised his white flag.
Surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and won the war.
“On earth peace, good will toward men.”
Peace – the elusive gift Craig wished for was now his.
Opportunities on Christmas Eve
You know someone like Craig. Someone who could use a personal invitation to hope.
Opportunity is knocking…loudly. In the weeks before Christmas, Jesus will be placed front and centre in our cultural eye.
No matter what the age group is around you, or whether people consider themselves to be religious or not, there are some – quite a few, really – who are ready at this time of year to hear about Jesus.
Just like Craig, that friend or family member of yours is far more likely to attend a Christmas service with you than any other time of the year.
Thom Rainer, president of Lifeway Research, enthuses, “If there is a given day where more de-churched or un-churched are likely to attend church, it would be on Christmas Eve.”
The good news of Jesus brilliantly shines through darkness. By living the life we couldn’t live and dying the death we deserve to die, Jesus gives those struggling with inner trauma the gift of God’s love.
That’s news worth sharing over the next few weeks.
So go ahead and invite them to your church on Christmas Eve. Your friends and family will say ‘no’ to 100% of the invitations that you don’t extend.
Your odds can only go up.
Four Words Forward
Feeling nervous about speaking up? There are four words to remember this Christmas season as you step out and give the gift of hope.
They’re the same four words that Jesus used to put boldness in the backbone of his original disciples: “I am with you.” Matthew 28:20
That’s the means by which you can lovingly share hope with people like Craig.
Think about who you will invite to a Christmas Eve service at your church. Please leave a comment below. Thank you and Merry Christmas.
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