Many of us have unsaved relatives we see infrequently, or only once a year at Christmas. What if they’re not open to the gospel? Maybe they’re downright opposed to Christ. What if God has yet to open a door to share the good news with them? What’s a believer to do? Here are some suggestions.
Before they come, pray that the Lord would open doors for the gospel and give you an opportunity to share it with them. Ask the Lord for a sincere love for them, the grace serve them and that they would see Christ in you.
I can easily sink into a selfish malaise at family gatherings, especially after meals. I can find myself lying on the couch drifting into oblivion or staring comatose-like at the television. But by God’s grace, I want to look for opportunities to serve. It may be something as simple as clearing the table or doing dishes. Unbelievers are watching us. Let our goal be to show them Christ, who did not come to be served but to serve and give his life for others.
3. Serve their Children
Before family get-togethers I have often told my kids that our goal for the evening is to try to make sure our relatives have the best time they possibly can, especially their children. Serve your relatives’ children, and encourage your children to serve their children. For many years after our Thanksgiving meal with relatives, I would do a Christmas craft with all the kids. We’d make Christmas ornaments with Play Dough or 3-d Christmas trees out of construction paper, glitter and beads.
Remember, Jesus welcomed children, blessed them, and said that when we receive a child in his name we receive him.
4. Take an Interest in Them
Seek to take a sincere interest in your relatives. Ask them about their jobs, hobbies and interests. Ask them what kind of Christmas traditions they had as kids. Ask them about their favorite childhood Christmas presents or memories. Ask them about their health if you are aware of any problems. You could offer to pray for them if it seems appropriate.
Look to the interests of others as Christ looked to our interests.
5. Let your light shine
The whole goal is to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). Perhaps God will give you the opportunity to share the gospel with them. If not this Christmas, maybe next. Keep praying for their salvation. Who knows, God may do something in the future that will make them open to the good news of Jesus Christ.
And remember, God longs to save your relatives, even more than you desire to see them saved. As he says in 2 Peter 3:9:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
God wishes no one to perish, but all to be saved. As you love and serve your relatives, it will be Christ loving and serving them through you.