There was an unusual Christmas service held at St Andrew’s Cathedral recently—unusual enough for it to make it to the local newspapers.

The service was different because it not only featured a choir of members from different churches singing local songs that told the story of Singapore’s 200-year history, but it was also attended by national leaders and people from different faiths, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and leaders of the major religions here.

Some of those who attended noted that the Christmas/bicentennial celebration was for all—not just believers—as it shared the universally-understood message of hope, thanksgiving, rejoicing, and harmony.

While such celebrations are among the many being organised around Singapore to convey the spirit of Christmas, some Christians may feel that some in the community are “watering down” the gospel message in their efforts to reach out to non-believers. Emphasising the offers of hope and grace while playing down the call to confession and repentance, they note, may make it more palatable to hearers, but is giving a wrong message about what the gospel truly is.

At the same time, the good news of Christmas may at times be conveyed in a rather complicated way, which can be confusing to some in our local Asian context where most of us have not been brought up in a Christian background.

Interestingly, one of the first proclamations of the gospel message—by Jesus himself—is short and succinct. In Luke 4:18–19, the Lord recalls Isaiah’s prophecy, which He fulfilled during His ministry:

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

 

These verses show how simple yet powerful the good news is: God offers us true freedom and salvation.

The message of the gospel doesn’t have to be complicated. We are called to share the good news, for we know that the Holy Spirit will do the rest, convicting hearts to turn to Him.

This Christmas, let’s share the message of the gospel with all. And let’s count on the Holy Spirit to help us to keep it clear and simple!

 

Lord, please give me
the boldness, compassion, and opportunity
to share the good news of Christmas
with people I know.

Leslie Koh spent more than 15 years as a journalist in The Straits Times before moving to Our Daily Bread Ministries. He’s found moving from bad news to good news most rewarding, and still believes that nothing reaches out to people better than a good, compelling story. He likes eating (a lot), travelling, running, editing, and writing.

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