By Greg Johnson
Having the relatives over for Christmas Day is always... interesting. Mom’s family members aren’t Christians, so your cousins don’t always say or do things that are normal for your home. Oh, they’re not bad kids, but every once in a while they will cut loose with a swear word, and they don’t even think about praying before a meal... and their music, especially your older cousin Jeff’s—let’s just say it doesn’t come close to resembling what you listen to.
With new toys and games around, though, there’s usually enough to keep everyone busy for the day. After the mid-afternoon meal, while the dads are cleaning up the kitchen and the moms are watching TV (yeah, right), you head outside to ride bikes with your cousin. As you’re going down the street, she asks you a question.
“Why do you guys always pray before meals?”
Though it catches you off guard, you know the answer to that one. “Because we believe in God and go to church, I guess.”
When I was little, we used to go every Sunday, but we quit a long time ago. Why would you want to go? I mean, it’s boring, isn’t it? Remember last year when we went to Christmas Eve service with you guys?”
“Well, that’s why we came on Christmas Day this year, so we wouldn’t have to go again. I fell asleep.”
“I know your family doesn’t believe in God or Jesus,” you say, “but we do. We think Christmas is a special time of year.”
“Our family believes in God, and my dad says Jesus Christ a lot, but we don’t think you need to go to church to get to heaven.”
Questions to Think On
• What would you say next? Do you have to go to church to get to heaven?
• Since your cousin probably just believes what her parents believe, what are ways you could get her thinking about Jesus Christ in a more positive way? (Mom or Dad, you can help if need be.)
• What are different roads people think they can go down to get to heaven? (talk about the church road, the good works road, the giving money road, etc.)
• Mom and Dad: How would you answer questions from friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers about why going through Jesus Christ to get to God is the only way to heaven?
What Does God Have to Say?
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner away from his error will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.