In my last post, I shared a few arguments outlining why we, as Catholics, may want to jump in and outwardly celebrate Christmas with society even though it is officially early. I came up with two main points, it is nice to celebrate with all the people in our life, even beyond our immediate family, and it is a powerful tool for evangelization. Today I want to explore the second point.
Look, I know it can be uncomfortable, even hard. I know that you worry about being judged that over-zealous religious person. If I may challenge you a little, stop caring about that. Just let it go. You know darn well people judge you anyways, so you might as well be judged for something good.
We have a responsibility, a holy duty, to proclaim the Lord to the world. If we do not do this, we do not really love our neighbor, and we do not really love God. Talking to others about Christ is not something that is for clergy and religious, it is for every single one of us. I don’t care if you are shy, or nervous, or whatever. People around you deserve to have the truth, and you, as a Catholic, have that truth. If you don’t share it with them, if I may be frank, you are not worthy of it. It’s that big a deal.
I have good news for you though, now is the perfect time to take this seriously. Here as society begins to celebrate Christmas, we have an easy open door to do this now. We can proclaim the Lord to people in a spirit of joy that people simply get. Christmas is all about Christ, and no matter how much people talk about “Happy Holidays” to try to hide it, everyone knows this is all about Christ. This is a Christian thing through and through, and people love it. So use this to your advantage!
How? Talk about the Incarnation, that’s how. Start by talking about how much you love the Christmas season, and soon the person you are speaking with is nodding their heads and agreeing with you. Then drop the bomb. Look them straight in the face and say, “How beautiful it is to think that the power which brought all the universe into being became an actual human person. It’s better than any science fiction movie I’ve ever seen.” or you could say, “All this joy and mirth over the birth of a child two thousand years ago, how crazy that God loves us so much, he would become one of us.”
Then shut up, smile, and wait for the response. Let it sink in. They are thinking, “Dude, this guy is actually serious about this. I don’t know what to say.” Give them a minute to think, and if they respond, then you are suddenly in a real talk about the faith. If they stare at your dumbstruck, after a few seconds you can say, “You know, I don’t really know your faith, we haven’t really talked about it, but if you would like, I’d love to have you as my guest to Christmas Mass this year. I don’t want to impose, but it would be really nice to have you.” Of course, that’s if you know them, if it’s a casual conversation with a stranger, you could say, “This time of year always reminds me of the beauty God has given us, it reminds me that life has meaning, that people matter enough for God to become one of us.”
It all starts with a simple conversation, that’s all. Will you mess it up? Yup. Are you an expert who can answer every question about the faith ever posed? Nope. It doesn’t matter if you speak from your heart. Just be honest, and say what you really know, think and feel, and don’t be afraid of not knowing some stuff. But do talk, do share, do stick your neck out. You may be giving them the greatest Christmas gift they have ever received, the Truth Himself.
If I may, I have to be honest with you, though you will hate me for it: Social Media doesn’t count. Don’t even bother. Sure, throw up a post of how Jesus is the reason for the season, or a picture of a nativity, it’s all fine and good. But you aren’t reaching anyone with that. Nobody cares about an internet post. Don’t bother getting into fake boxing matches with online personas, it’s just silly. No one is real on social media, it’s all a big pride game. Just stop it.
Get out into the real world and talk to humans. Talk to them, but authentic with them. Share the true joy of the Incarnation with the grocery clerk, the gas station attendant, the waitress. Talk with you colleagues, your coworkers, your friends. Be you, maybe for the first time ever, and honestly let your heart speak.
Tis the season to begin evangelizing.