This is one of the lyrics from "The Christmas Song", (often known by its first line, "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire"). In my humble opinion, it's still best when sung by the late, great Nat King Cole. But whoever is singing it, I have always really appreciated that line because it sums up a very simple truth. I mean, think about it: have you ever been wished "Merry Christmas" and thought "Pffft...like I haven't heard THAT before. C'mon, be more original, would you??" Nope...me neither. And so the song acknowledges that Yes, you've heard this before. Maybe you've even heard it in more creative ways. But you know what? I'm going to say it again; I'm going to wish you Merry Christmas! And I, for one, am a fan. I don't think I'll get tired of being wished Merry Christmas or of wishing the same to others.
But this season gives us an opportunity to do even more than simply wish each other Merry Christmas. It gives us an opportunity to share the gospel with people. In fact, people are oftentimes more receptive than normal during this time of year to hearing about Jesus. But we sometimes hesitate to share our faith with others. Why? Because...well...they've heard it all before. Haven't they?? I mean, who hasn't heard about the baby in a manger and at least had some inkling of the fact that He would grow up and become a man on a cross? And so we sometimes make assumptions that they don't need to hear it again from us. After all, they've heard it many times, in many ways, and we don't have anything to add to the story that they didn't hear a long time ago.
Here's the problem with that thinking: we can never be sure what precisely it is that will "click" with someone. Maybe there is something meaningful in your personal story that they've never heard before, and it just resonates with them. Maybe, due to circumstances that you aren't aware of, their heart is softer to the gospel message than it had been previously. And most importantly, you and I never know when the Holy Spirit is supernaturally empowering a person to hear the gospel "with power"! (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5) All of these variables are reflected in the statistic that a person needs to hear the gospel an average of 7 times before responding to it! (That's an average! So some people respond on hearing it the first time...but others may need to hear it 100 times!) The point is that we can never really know whether this may be the day. Which is why, although it's been said many times, many ways, we should continue to share the gospel of Jesus!! Never get tired of telling that story...especially during this season!
- Pastor Paul