It’s late November. The Spirit of Christmas is already in the air for Merlyn. She’s lost in dreaming of her Christmas. Where to go shopping? How many days of leave to apply? How to convince her boss about leaves? What special dishes to make? How to decorate her house and impress her guests? She suddenly wakes up from dreaming and realises that it’s already late for her to rush for the choir practice at her church.
Merlyn practising along with the church choir for the most expected Christmas service at her church. This year they have decided to celebrate in an extremely magnificent way.
Good tidings, good tidings,
The music shall not cease;
He came to guide our wayward feet
Into the paths of peace.
"To us a Child is born!"
As they were singing, Merlyn breaks down and starts to weep. She is unable to give an answer to her friends in the choir who tried to console her and understand the reason for her tears. After the practice, with a heavy heart but a made-up smile she returns home. She had a reluctant dinner and shut herself inside her room.
The words from that song ‘He came to guide our wayward feet into the paths of peace’, were constantly ringing in her ears. This song took her 2 years back. She was reminded of that extraordinary day which rewrote her life. The day when her colleague Sheba with whom she worked for several years, whom she thought never cared or accepted her, suddenly approached her.
Merlyn: It was such an unusual day which drove me in to a great surprise along with a bit of suspicion. Sheba came to me with a big smile. She gave me a beautiful bunch of chocolates and a card with the words “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”.Later, she invited me to her house for Christmas lunch. Her words, for a moment, puzzled me. I couldn’t understand why she was doing all this to me. However, I had no other plans for Christmas. I was wondering how I would spend my holidays as I was aimless; hence I decided to go to her house.
Her house was packed with joy-filled relatives, friends and her family. I was greeted with so much love and enthusiasm. They made me feel that I was very important to them. Soon I felt their belongingness and warmth. I’ve seen people enjoying and making merry. But there seemed to be something more, that this group had. Is this the ‘great joy’ that was mentioned in the card? I thought for a moment.
We enjoyed the food, carols, laughter, fun, games and what not. It was time for us to say good bye. It was very hard for me to say those words. I turned to Sheba to say ‘Bye’ but I broke into tears. I sobbed and sobbed like a little child. I was reminded of my childhood days, my family conditions, and my wretched life. I couldn’t forgive my parents nor did I have any inclination towards God. I grew up in a family where there were constant chaos, fights, and arguments between my parents. They were just after money, money and money. We never felt loved or cared. I waited for a chance to leave my house. After my studies I moved here in search of job and to get rid of my family chaos. I got a good job. But things didn’t end there. I was depressed all the time, felt lonely and unloved. I tried to indulge myself into many things to keep myself occupied and happy. Movies after movies, Friends after friends, Relationships one after the other, nothing could make me happy. It again and again hurt me. When Sheba called me for lunch I felt extremely happy but I had a fear of being hurted again. But when I came there I felt something different. They all seemed to be very peaceful and truly happy.
After hearing my story, Sheba shared about the great message of Christmas with me. She explained how much Jesus who is the very reason for Christmas loved me and came to this earth just for me. She invited me to have a relationship with this wonderful person called ‘Jesus’; and prayed for me. My heart longed to know Him and I desperately wanted this person to call me His own. I too called out to Him ‘JESUS’……. The peace came flooding into my heart like an ocean. I could feel Him hug me and say ‘Don’t be afraid My Child, It’s Me’. My joy knew no bounds. I leaped like a kid. I felt clean. I felt loved and accepted. It was a BIG DAY in my life.
2 years later, now as Merlyn recalled this incident that changed her life and added meaning to it, she was filled with tears. Tears of joy and gratitude rolled from her eyes. She knelt down in her room and thanked God for Jesus-the greatest gift she received on the day of Christmas. She also rang up her friend Sheba to thank her for introducing to such a blessed life with Christ. Sheba was glad to hear from Merlyn. They spoke for a while and before hanging the call, Sheba said ‘Merlyn, now IT’S YOUR TURN TO PASS IT ON”.
Merlyn started to ponder on the words of Sheba, “PASS IT ON”. She felt so embarrassed and sad. This time it was not thinking of her wretched life but of her negligence in holding back the good news of Jesus with her.
Merlyn: (Down at her knees) Lord, you loved me so much, you healed my hurts, united my broken family, gave me joy, blessed me with good friends. I don’t feel lonely now. I feel accepted. I have an assurance of eternal life. But…but…I feel so ashamed of the fact that I haven’t shared the blessedness of this life with anyone. How selfish and unfaithful I am. Where would I’ve been if Sheba wouldn’t have loved me? Where would I’ve been If you wouldn’t have accepted me?
Nevertheless Lord, many times I tried sharing about you with my colleagues and friends. But I had a fear of being neglected again. I was frightened if I would lose my friends. What if they get irritated and turn away from me? What if they make fun of me? What if my boss throws me out of my company for talking religion? These were my fears.
But now O Lord, I realise my mistake. I understand my responsibility. I will take this Christmas as a start-up for my mission to tell about your love to my co-workers and friends. I will tell them that their Saviour was born to save them. I will no longer be silent. I will not hold back this precious gift. Help me overcome my unbelief and fears. I WILL PASS IT ON.
I will tell my world that Jesus lives--
I will tell my world that He died for them.
I will tell them that He loves them.
Next day, as usual Merlyn is getting ready for work. But there is a great joy in her heart, which is indescribable. She hasn’t felt this joy for quite a long time. She is able to feel the same peace which she received on the day she got saved. She is all the more excited to go to office. She has a target to achieve and a great task in her hands. In the office, she gets to meet one of her friend, Sharon who is a believer. Merlyn couldn’t stop sharing her joy with Sharon. Merlyn’s experience and her words ignited Sharon’s passion to do something for the Lord this Christmas. She said “Merlyn, I will surely PASS ON this joy that I received from God to others”.
After the office, Merlyn went to her church for the choir practice. She was greeted by her friends who were very curious to know how she was doing, because she went home crying the previous day. Merlyn went on and on, explaining what happened to her 2 years ago, what happened to her yesterday and the commitment that she made last night with the Lord. There was complete silence for a while. She could see that many in the choir were moved by what she said, many were convicted, they realised how self-centred their Christmas celebrations were.
Slowly their eyes were lit up, with much excitement, they all said, “We will PASS ON this message of Christmas to everyone around us”. They called off their choir practice for that day and sat together to plan, to make this Christmas the most meaningful and purposeful one like never before in their lives.
John (a choir member): Hey friends, as most of us are working for different companies and organisations, why don’t we focus on reaching out to our colleagues and people at our work place during this Christmas?
Rita: John, you are right. I believe, it’s the best place to start with, as we spend most of our time in our offices. Every Christmas, my colleagues just wait for me to bring Christmas cake for them. It simply means that they are ready to receive something from me in the name of Christmas.
Merlyn: Yes guys, I just thought of separating my outreach into two parts. First, I’m going to make ideas to start or build relationship with colleagues whom I haven’t spoken with or spent much time. Second, I’m going to reach out to those colleagues whom I know very well. There is a girl in my office who doesn’t mingle with anyone much. She is sometimes weird in her reactions. People don’t respect or consider her. Who knows, she may have some miserable story like mine. I’m planning to take her out for a lunch next weekend and then go shopping with her and gift her a Christmas dress. I think by doing this I can spend some time with her and know her better. God, I want to be her Friend and share your love with her. Please help me.
John: Good thought Merlyn. I know it’s a challenging one. But you can do it. Guys, how about going for carol singing to our friend’s house. Why don’t we plan to visit our colleagues’ house that we know very well? Let’s give a surprise visit to their place.
Shiny: Hey, but what if they don’t like it. What if they get irritated?
John: Come on Shiny. Don’t be so scared. We need to take bold step. Let’s give a try. May be each of us can choose two colleagues’ house. So we will have 12 houses on our list. Even if two reject us, we will have the joy of sharing the message of Christmas with the rest ten houses. Also friends, don’t forget we need to give them some meaningful gifts.
Sandeep: Yeah, now I remember one of my team mates. Once I heard him passing such comments ‘Life is hell after marriage’. He has some relationship issues with his wife. It’s been long since they have spoken to each other. Why don’t I go to his house with my wife and invite them home for Christmas dinner? I will ask my wife to make her best dishes, we can spend some time with his family and watch ‘Fireproof’movie together.
Rita: Wow Sandeep! That’s a good idea. The movie ‘Fireproof’ very well suits their state and it will also give an answer to their problem. The Gospel is beautifully presented in it.I want to do something more. I’m also thinking of asking forgiveness to the people in office whom I have intentionally or unintentionally hurt. I think through this I can show them the forgiveness of our Lord.
Merlyn: Hey Shiny, aren’t you good at creative writing and handicrafts? Why don’t you pen down some inspiring and thought provoking writings about Christ & Christmas. You can make personalised cards, put your writings on them and give it to your friends. I think they would be happy to receive one from you. You can even decorate your desk and your cubicle with some creative things telling the story of Christmas.
Shiny: Thanks Merlyn. I think I can do that. I’m a bit nervous yet I believe the Lord will give me courage.
Reena: My Company has lot of restrictions. No religious talks. Religious activities are not entertained at all. But I have a very good rapport with my team members. I have helped them when they were in need. They all know that I am a good Christian by seeing my life. But I haven’t openly shared Christ with them. I want to take this Christmas as an opportunity to tell about Jesus. I want to invite the entire team home but I stay in a hostel so can’t invite them there. What do I do?
Rita: Reena, nothing to worry dear. My house is open for you. You are most welcome to bring your colleagues home for lunch. My mom will be very much happy to host them. I will also invite few of my friends. We can together plan for good games and fun filled activites.We can share our life testimonies and how God changed our lives. My mom will also join us in testifying about how God healed her from heart problems. I’m going to decorate my house colourfully and meaningfully. I’m going to put good writings on my walls. We can also plan for an interesting treasure hunt game. This game must leave them with a hunt for truth, true joy and peace.
Merlyn: Why don’t we think of giving some sweets and gifts and share about Jesus’ birth to the Watchmen, Sweepers, housekeeping boys, gardeners and cooks in our office? Guys, we should not miss them out. They too need Jesus. Even our managers and bosses need this Good News.
John: Wow! I’m so excited. Lots of things in store for us. We are going to get busy for our Lord. The heaven must be rejoicing already.
Rita: Hey guys, why don’t we give a theme for our Christmas? I guess the best theme would be “PASS IT ON, NEVER HOLD BACK”. Lets us take active and intentional efforts to pass on the message of Christmas.
Sandeep: Good theme Rita. You always turn up with awesome thoughts. Friends, with all the plans and ideas we have, let’s not forget to pray. We need lots of prayers. Let’s commit all our plans to the Lord and ask the Spirit of the Lord to anchor it. Ultimately salvation belongs to the Lord. It’s our duty to sow the seeds of faith in our colleagues’ hearts, but God will make it grow at the right time. Let’s not limit ourselves to these thoughts. Let’s be open for the Lord to have His way.
Merlyn: You’re right on the point Sandeep. It’s not by Might or Power but all things are possible by the Spirit of God who lives in us. Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel. Never doubt the power of the Gospel. Let not anything stop us from moving forward for Him. We must be ready to take any kind of reproach for His name sake. We are missionaries at our workplaces; placed there to rescue the perishing at any cost.
John: Fine guys; let’s meet tomorrow for the practice. Don’t forget to PASS IT ON. Bye all.
Dear readers, what are your plans for this Christmas? Don’t lose yourself in the world of vanity. Let lost people matter most to us during this festive season. While writing this I remember a song which we used to sing during our school days. Although it didn’t make much sense to me during those days, I now see a deeper meaning in it. May this challenge you to light up the lives of people around you at your workplace. Sing along.
It only takes a spark, to get a fire going.
And soon all those around, can warm up to its glowing.
That's how it is with God's love, once you've experienced it,
You spread His love to everyone, and you want to pass it on.
I wish for you my friend
This happiness that I've found
You can depend on him
It matters not where you’re bound.
I'll shout it from the mountain tops
I want my world to know
The Lord of Love has come to me
I WANT TO PASS IT ON.
Now IT’S YOUR TURN!