Evangelizing at the Holiday Table

November 21, 2022 | NEW METHODS

Some of the greatest moments of blessing and joy are encountered around the holiday dinner table and sometimes some of the greatest disagreements and tension are also encountered around the holiday dinner table. Oftentimes to keep peace and avoid any tension, we simply avoid specific topics that might stir up a disagreement at holiday gatherings…topics like politics and religion. Living by this rule will most likely keep the peace, but regarding evangelization, it prevents the sharing of graces encountered through Our Lord with others. Jesus gives us the command to share our faith.

He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” 

Mark 15:16

So, what do we do? The key is knowing your audience, where they are in their faith journey, and leading with love.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Sometimes the most difficult person around the holiday table is the debater. Every family has one! They love a good debate. 

When the debater is angry with God or the Church it can be an even bigger challenge. This is a good moment to decide when to speak and how to speak. Your refusal to engage in an angry rant may suffice in evangelization through Christian witness of restraint. 

Pray before you speak. In some cases, it may be best to wait to respond.

The heart of the just ponders a response, but the mouth of the wicked spews evil. 

Proverbs 15:28

When you do respond to someone angry with God or the Church, do not engage in an argument. Maintain respect. Do not yell but speak the truth. Share your witness of how God has moved in your life and share what living life as a Catholic means to you. 

You know your story and regardless of what another person thinks about God or the Church, one cannot argue what God means to you.

All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. 

Ephesians 4:31

There are other means of evangelizing that do not include debating the Truth of the Church. They are easy openers for future more depth-filled conversations.

· Suggest everyone pray as a group before the meal. Take time to thank God not only for the food, but also for the loved ones gathered around the table.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the invocation of God in prayer. 

1 Timothy 4:4

· Invite everyone to share a God moment during the time from the previous gathering to the current holiday. If someone doesn’t believe in God, invite them to share a joyful moment rather than not participating. Simply hearing how God has moved in other’s lives may open a door for discussion in the future.

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

· Show kindness and remain open to build trust around the table.

[And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. 

Ephesians 4:32

· Let your behavior at holiday gatherings be a witness to your Christian faith so that there is no question of who you are or the Person you follow.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. 



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