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How to celebrate Christmas with those of other faiths or no faith

The Christmas season can be stressful for many as they gather with family members who may be unbelievers or followers of other faiths.

Polls show that a majority of atheists celebrate the cultural aspects of the holiday season. That means they, and those of faiths other than Christianity will often gather with family members for meals and gift-giving.

The leaders of several Christian organizations for tips on how believers should celebrate.

Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said “it is inevitable that such diversity of faith perspectives would appear around the table.” He advised believers to take some time to pray as part of their preparations for the gathering. He suggested Christians pray that “God would be honored in the interactions and that a spirit of gratitude would, in fact, be central to the time.”

“When we host others, we hope for them to be respectful of our traditions, not as an imposition upon our guests but as an invitation to our family life,” Kim said. “If it is your tradition to pray before the meal in Jesus’ name…then please do so. However, take some time to explain what you’re doing and to relieve your guests of any anxieties. Let them know about your tradition to pray before the meal, but that you are not asking them to pray out loud.”

Geremy Keeton, senior director of Focus on the Family’s counseling services department, said there is nothing new about people of different faiths coming together for Christmas.

When asked how a Christian witness can bring peace to a diverse gathering, Kim cited Galatians 5:22-23, which speaks of the fruit of the Spirit.

“When we look at the fruit of the Spirit, we see characteristics of love, peace, kindness and gentleness, and we don’t read about a Spirit-filled virtue of winning arguments or making points,” he said. “Kindness is a powerful witness, and gratitude can deeply convey the gospel’s power to change lives.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice