What to Do with Your Unsaved Relatives this Christmas

Many of us have unsaved relatives that 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.

1. Pray

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.

2. Serve

I can easily sink into a selfish malaise at family gatherings, especially after meals. I find myself lying on the couch drifting into oblivion or staring comatose-like at the television. By God’s grace, what I try to do is 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.

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.

I’d love to hear any suggestions or ways that you have found to love, bless and show Christ to your relatives. Thanks.

Comments

  1. Cat Balloo says

    What humbling timing to read this after arriving home from a family Christmas party where I did the exact opposite!

    Fortunately I still have some family events where I can try to be different.

    Thanks so much for the challenge.

  2. Mark Altrogge says

    Thanks cat balloo!

    Please don’t think that I do all these things perfectly or that I’ve conquered all my selfishness… But by God’s grace I’m changing….

    May the Lord give you great grace and joy at your upcoming family events.

    Mark

  3. Pat McCombie says

    Mark–thank you so much for this great reminder! I’m sure this post was so timely for many of us. I was meditating on I Cor. 13: 4-7 this morning and it fits well with what you shared. Thanks for the encouragement. Pat

  4. Mark Altrogge says

    Hey Ben!Amen my friend! May God increase our faith that the fields are ripe now and give us boldness and many open doors for the gospel. Thanks for your comment! Hope you have a great Christmas.Mark

  5. Youngblood says

    I don’t have any family out here in America, as i am from the UK originally, but you have highlighted our call and ministry not just for this Christmas season, but all year round. Prayer is first and foremost, a contending in the Spirit for the souls of the unsaved. I love in John where it says that no-one comes to the son unless the father first draws him. There is a drawing first, and once they are drawn we should know that the fields are ripe; everyone is white and ready for harvest now, and not in ‘four months’. Man looks at the outward appearance, the Spiritual man looks at the inward soul. I pray that we all on this blog increase in our capacity to share the word, and have faith that everyone is ready and ripe for the harvest RIGHT NOW!!
    Praise the LORD.
    Ben

  6. Amos2012 says

    My dread of holidays with the in-laws has gotten to the level of a season of depression and suppressed rage. They just don't, won't, can't honor God even on a day that so clearly is meant to make us remember our need for a Savior. I'm so sick of it I could puke.

    Maybe someone here will pray for me because the in-laws are religious in a way that totally ignores the Bible and Jesus, but somehow they keep trudging along as good people. It seems the Holy Spirit just isn't going to convict these people and I really don't have any more patience to exhibit – I feel like loading up the Scriptural cannon and letting that shards of broken glass house fall where they may.

    May the Lord help me.

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