Does Jesus have to photobomb His own birth celebration? As we approach Christmas, preparations for all sorts of Christmas celebrations are in full swing. The irony is that we usually end up doing a lot of stuff in Jesus’s name but not really spending any time with Jesus Himself. We end up exhausted, go to some version of Watchnight service and wake up to a new year. Here’s a thought. Spend some time with Jesus this Christmas? How? I go back to my go-to passage for encountering Jesus — Jesus’s encounter with the two disciples on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13–35).

  1. Meet Jesus in the company of friends

We note that when the two disciples walked together, Jesus walked with them. I suggest a quiet simple meal with close family and/or friends where we share life-giving conversations. The two disciples recognised Jesus when they shared a meal with Him (Luke 24:30, 31, 35). As we share food, share life. Chat about how you have encountered Jesus in the year that is passing. Share thanksgiving items. Share painful moments which still need Jesus’s healing. Pray for one another. Commit yourselves to walk together in the year ahead. In our friendship we encounter afresh the presence and the friendship of Christ.

  1. Meet Jesus in the Word

Jesus spent most of His walk with the two disciples showing where the Scriptures talked about Him (Luke 24:25–27). Jesus knew that a time was coming when He would go back to the Father and his disciples would no longer have access to Him physically till He returned. Till then they, like us, will meet Jesus in His Word. Perhaps at the Christmas meal suggested above, a Christmas passage could be read and time taken for the Christmas message to sink in. It could be an exercise in lectio divina. Folks at the table could share about which parts of the reading spoke to them and what that could mean for their lives going forward.

  1. Meet Jesus in witness

Any real encounter with Jesus will lead to a deep desire to share Him with others. The two disciples from the Emmaus Road couldn’t wait to tell the other disciples that they had met Jesus (Luke 24:33–35). To know Jesus is to want to share Jesus. Interestingly, when they shared Jesus, they encountered Him again (Luke 24:36–43). When we go in His name to share His love, we meet Him again. This Christmas, spend some time quietly asking Him who needs a touch of His love and message. A quiet, personal visit may do much more than asking friends to a Hollywood-level Christmas production. Like Jesus, we should lead with questions (Luke 24:17–19) before we suggest solutions.

We live in a lonely, impersonal world. In Christ, God came to us in person. Christ is Immanuel, God with us. This Christmas don’t neglect the Lord whose birth we are celebrating.