Encouragement for the Journey – 18/12/11

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Encouragement for the Journey – 18/12/11

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

A few weeks ago I heard a news report on children’s sport, in particular cricket, the report suggested that a day’s cricket was now too long to hold a young person’s attention span. The report went on to say other sports, like croquet have changed their format to encourage more children and young people into their sport.

I began to think about attention span, in particular in the church and how we seek to communicate. A few weeks ago at our Kids N All Service I showed a Christmas video of the Christmas story, called Mary and Joseph ‘The Road Movie’, on our new projector, it was small communicative bite sized video clips of the Christmas story within a modern setting. This video seemed to hold the children’s attention and also us adults.

It is a given, that our world is certainly changing, no more so than in the world of advertising, in particular Christmas advertising. A few weeks ago Fleur pointed out to me a shop advertising ‘Giftmas.’ Now we may jump up and down and protest they have taken the Christ out of Christmas, but maybe for many Christ is not in Christmas, it is just a time for exchanging gifts and this advert was actually stating the obvious.

Yes, the times they are a changing. I ask, how we may communicate the message of Christmas in this fast changing society in which we live. During my week away I started a new book called the ‘Unauthorised Biography of Coca – Cola. It is a fascinating read, one particular segment described that during the 1930’s an advertising man named Archie Lee, realised that ‘It isn’t what a product is, but what it does that interests us.’ From this insight, Coca – Cola changed their approach in how they communicated and advertised their product.

I think we may learn from that, perhaps for too long we (the church) have focused on an apologetic approach to communicating the gospel, seeking to say what Christianity is, forgetting what it does, for what we do has more power to communicate than what we say. This brings me full circle back to Christmas, the unspoken message of Christmas is love, always love.

Yes, as Christ followers. Christmas is a time to honour the birth of Jesus, to remind ourselves of the love of God expressed in and through Jesus Christ. But wait there is more; it is also an opportunity to individually and communally demonstrate and communicate the love of God in ways that honour our differences, treating each other with respect, dignity and compassion.

Meanwhile I take this opportunity to offer you the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christ to you and those you love this Christmas season.