I understand, even applaud the motivation for the Godbaby website, ChurchAds.Net, but is it really effective to tell the Nativity story in the style of a football match or horse race? Some churches in the U.K. think so. They are purchasing the Godbaby ads for the radio, hoping to attract a younger audience to their churches. The website provides the ads for free, but the church must purchase the air time from the radio stations. I could try to explain what these ads sound like, but you really need to listen to them for yourself. It’s a MOMENT! I thought it was a joke at first, a really bad joke, but it is an actual ad that churches can use. I wrote the Advent Book for our ministry again this year and I wrote the introduction saying, “Christmas changed the world, then the world changed Christmas.” These ads are another example of a world that has ventured a long way from the manger in Bethlehem. I think it is time that Christians “reclaim” the holiday that was designated as a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior. The world can have a happy holiday, I want to experience a Merry Christmas. How about you?
I think we need to re-evaluate our strategies. The Nativity story told as a horse race might need “rethinking.” Do we really want to advertise Christmas by trying to out-gimmick the world’s ads? Are we attempting to reduce God to something that matches those lower standards? The Bible says we are to view God with reverent awe, fear him, and praise his “holy” name. In my opinion, “Godbaby” misses that mark by a long way.
Many Christians have grown weary and angry at the people who insist that Christ should not be mentioned in conjunction with the Christmas celebrations or sales ads. I share the frustration, but I want to be careful this year not to share the anger. Our righteous indignation isn’t working, so let’s change course. I think we need to heed Paul’s advice to the Ephesians. “Be very careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15). Paul told Timothy to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11-12). There is a battle for the true meaning of the Christmas season, but anger and indignation are the wrong weapons. We need wise, godly people on the front lines who will reflect the character of Christ, and teach the world the real purpose of Christmas is to adore the Christ-child, our King.
Christmas is the perfect time to share Christ. When the person at the cash register wishes you a “happy holiday” smile at them and say, “I wish you a blessed Christmas.” (Only say that if you have set a good example while you were standing in that line! A cranky Christian is not an effective witness!) Let the lights on the trees remind you that we celebrate the birth of the One who is the Light of the World, and remember that He told us we were to be the light of the world as well.
We can do it. We can represent Christ this Christmas – not with gimmicks or righteous indignation – but with love, joy and peace. God so loved you that he gave you his Son at Christmas, so that through faith, you could have eternal life. There is no greater gift – and Christmas is a great time to give that gift to our culture. Share the Nativity story . . . but you might choose to use the Bible instead of those radio ads!
I wish you joy and Jesus for your Christmas holiday.