We had gathered together for thanksgiving with my family and a few family friends. There were 26 of us all together. After we had eaten our fill, some of them played a game of Telestrations. This game is like a mix between Pictionary and the telephone game. Like the telephone game, a word or phrase gets passed along, but instead of saying it, you draw it (so, like Pictionary). Kaitlyn was playing and her word was candy cane. This is a pretty easy one. Most people can draw a candy cane and most people can recognize a candy cane. After the end of each round each player shows the progression of their word. This is where the game gets really funny. Kaitlyn is showing everyone the progression of her word and it was going like you would think, people where drawing candy canes and people where guessing candy cane – right up till the last guess. Sitting next to Kaitlyn was one of my nephew’s friends who didn’t grow up in the United States. When Kaitlyn flipped over the last page to show this guy’s guess, she read “Christmas stick.” “Christmas stick!” We laughed hardily at this!
As I think about “Christmas sticks,” it makes me realize how hard it can be for some people to understand what faith in Christ looks like or is about. People that have not grown up around a church or with the scripture being read to them are going to find understanding some of our language unknown and concepts unfamiliar. Even as we go toward Christmas, what you and I think about when we think of Christmas is not even close to what some may think. For some, Christ is just in the name of Christmas, it isn’t the title of a person.
So my word of encouragement for us is to be ready to share in a way that can make sense. Be willing to ask someone if they understand. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” If there is a time for you to live like you have hope, to share your hope, it is Christmas. I know the thought of sharing Christ’s story and the story of Christ in your life can be scary. I know that there are many times where we don’t think we know enough or have enough answers. We are fearful because we worry someone will ask us something we don’t know, and they may.
I do want to remind you what Christ told his disciples about being able to answer people when they were arrested. “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11). I know we aren’t talking about you being arrested, but the truth still stands that the Holy Spirit will help you know what to say. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be prepared.
Can you verbalize why you follow Christ? Can you share about what Christ has done in your life? Can we be like Philip, who explained to the Ethiopian eunuch about the scripture passage he was reading when Philip came up beside him? Or explain to others the joy we have, the peace we have, and the grace that we have received? When there is such confusion about what the meaning of some things are, you have a wonderful opportunity to share the truth.
You would think everyone knows what a candy cane is, but they don’t. And if some people don’t know that, I’m sure there are some who don’t know Christ. What a wonderful opportunity our Lord is putting in front of us. Keep your eyes open.
Rev. Lynn Beach is married to his college sweetheart, Michelle, and they have two adorable daughters. He has been at Park Church since July 2013.