Holidays can be such a great time to have spiritual conversations with your friends and family.
You’re with loved ones to celebrate and spend quality time together. Maybe you’re seeing people you haven’t seen in a while. Special food and fun traditions, and the anticipation of them, can lead to a festive feeling in the air. And that holiday mood can allow people to relax and be more open to talking.
If approached with humility and love, and the power the Holy Spirit offers, holidays can be an ideal time to talk with someone about Jesus. But for that conversation to happen, it’s important to recognize or create the right opportunity.
So here’s how you can recognize opportunities when they come or create some yourself.
How can you recognize opportunities to talk about your faith in God?
First of all, what’s an opportunity? A good opportunity to talk about God with someone is when the other person is undistracted and willing to have a spiritual conversation with you. It’s that simple.
And a person is more likely to be open to talking about spiritual things when it’s just the two of you. So look for times when you’re more or less alone together and doing something that doesn’t take a lot of concentration. Here are types of situations to look for:
- You and a friend are traveling together to a holiday gathering.
- You find yourself making dumplings in the kitchen with your cousin while everyone else is outside.
- After the meal, your grandma invites you to take a walk with her around the neighborhood.
- You watch a movie with a group of people and afterward you and a friend go out for coffee to talk about it.
Look for times like these, when you’re together and less likely to be interrupted. Start by asking a good question and listening well. Then ask a spiritual question and see if the person is open to having a spiritual conversation. A good spiritual question to ask during a holiday could be, “What are you thankful for?”
Stay alert because a chance can come and go quickly. If your uncle asks the group, “Who wants to go with me to buy the meat?” you may have only a couple seconds to volunteer before someone else does.
Sometimes, though, quality chances to talk about spiritual topics don’t appear. Or you fail to recognize them in time. When that’s the case, try creating a chance to talk about God.
How can you create opportunities to talk about your faith in God?
Creating opportunities doesn’t mean you’re taking matters into your own hands. Either way, God is the one working behind the scenes. Sometimes he drops opportunities in your lap and sometimes he invites you to take a more active role, working with him to bring the opportunities about.
So here are three things you can do to create opportunities to talk with family and friends about Jesus during a holiday:
1. Pray and prepare
God wants everyone to hear the good news. So he’s definitely going to help you if you want to talk about Jesus with the people in your life. Pray and ask God to lead you by his Spirit.
Then think through past holidays and your plans for this one and identify potential opportunities for a conversation. One idea is to invite someone ahead of time to a sporting event or out for coffee or to shop for presents together.
2. Demonstrate the gospel with your life
People will be more willing to talk with you about God if they see genuine humility and love in your actions and attitude. When you make conflict resolution and forgiveness a priority it disarms the other person and can make them curious.
Share about your life in a vulnerable way, then ask to hear what’s been going on in their life since you’ve seen them last. Ask how you can pray for them. Be excited with them about the good stuff and show compassion when responding about the hard stuff. When they see your genuine interest and care it will reduce some of the barriers they may have.
Just by having a great interaction with the other person — laughing or talking deeply — you can build trust and help undo negative assumptions they might have of you or Jesus. Then, when you bring up spiritual topics, they’re more likely to have that conversation with you.
3. Take action
Taking action means actively creating time when you can talk without distractions. For example, you could offer to help your friend clean up after the meal while others play a game in the living room. Once you have a conversation going, take a step of faith and ask a spiritual question.
Also, your friend or family member may be more willing to talk with you about God if they have an experience that causes them to think about spiritual things.
- Will you be going to a religious service together?
- Will you be doing a holiday tradition that has a spiritual background?
- Will you be experiencing art together (movie, museum, music) that has an overtly spiritual element or theme?
If so, you can ask what they felt and thought about that service, tradition or piece of art. If it’s a movie, you could ask about parts that speak to spiritual themes: the world’s brokenness due to sin, death that causes sadness, good vs. evil, a fight for justice, love that brings healing. After listening well, see if they’re open for you to share your views too. While sharing, you can talk about how Jesus died to solve the problems of sin and death and to bring love, justice, and healing.
But what if talking about “religion” doesn’t often go well in your family? If that’s the case, one thing you can do is to wait until you’ve eaten. When we’re hungry it’s harder to concentrate and easier to become irritated and impatient. Bringing up spiritual topics after having eaten is more likely to go well. Also make sure to use a kind and gentle tone of voice.
When you recognize, create and make the most of opportunities to talk about God with the people in your life this holiday season, you are showing them love. There’s no greater gift you can give another person than a chance to hear the gospel, be forgiven and enter into a relationship with Jesus.
So ask God for opportunities and for help. Then prepare, seek to demonstrate the gospel with your life, and actively pursue a spiritual conversation with your friend or family member. Happy holidays!