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"Hey, Todd," you say. "What's up?"

"The boss asked me to get a head count of everyone coming to the office Christmas party this year. So, how many people are you bringing?"

"Uh," you stammer. "Well, zero. Including me."

Todd appears stunned. "Wha—really? You're not coming? How come?"

You laugh and explain that you don't celebrate Christmas, and Todd's eyes go wide. "You don't celebrate Christmas?" he exclaims. "Don't you go to church, like, every weekend?"

You smile and nod as he scratches his head. "I don't get it," he says. "You're a Christian, and you don't celebrate Christ's birthday. Why not?"

During the course of your conversation, a couple other curious faces have popped up above the cubicle walls, listening to the exchange. You and Todd both have work to do, so you don't have time for a lengthy answer, but he does seem genuinely interested in hearing your answer.

How do you answer?
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Send your 100 to 300-word answer, along with your name and congregation, to your local pastor and ask him to forward it to United News. You can also e-mail them to UN@ucg.org. We may use your response in an upcoming United News!

September-October Ready to Answer Question

A friend asks whether you believe a mutual friend, Jenny, who was killed in a car accident during high school, is in heaven. She is interested in your answer, but you still have to avoid deluging her in doctrinal subpoints and keep your response succinct. How do you answer?


"As a follower of Christ, I believe the Bible. The Bible says that no one has ascended to heaven except Christ who came from heaven. The Bible also says that the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing.

"I believe that when you die, the spirit in man (which contains all your thoughts, experiences and character) returns to God who gave it, and your physical body returns back to dust (dirt). My hope lies in the resurrection. I believe that Christ will return again, and when He does, the dead will live again. The body and spirit will be united again."

-- Reba Leverett Jones
Atlanta, Georgia, congregation


"My great-great-grandfather is buried in a small Indiana cemetery. The monument over his grave has a German inscription loosely translated:

"'Here I lie, not dead, just sleeping, through the long, long night, waiting to be awakened by God's holy light.'

"Jenny, like my great-great-grandfather, is merely sleeping, waiting to be reawakened by God in the resurrection."

-- Ray Voegele
Cincinnati, Ohio, East congregation

"Jenny, asleep in her grave, is at rest. The Bible in numerous places refers to death as a 'sleep,' meaning a temporary state of absolutely no consciousness. For example, in Ecclesiastes 9:5, we read that the dead don't know anything. It is a resurrection from the dead that makes life after death possible. And from the book of Revelation, we learn that there is more than one resurrection.

"In order to attain the first resurrection, one must be called to Jesus Christ by God into His true Church. The individual must repent, and then be baptized by water immersion, thus receiving God's Holy Spirit. God gives a small portion of His Spirit during the prayer with the laying on of the minister's hands.

"By faithfully keeping God's commandments, a converted person who is really committed to Christ—living righteously and overcoming amid life's struggles and trials—is eligible to receive eternal life and one day reign on earth with Jesus Christ for 1,000 years.

"Those not selected now by our Heavenly Father will take part in the second resurrection, occurring at the end of the 1,000 years. Millions of persons who never heard of Jesus Christ will be raised at that time! They are not lost; they will fortunately have an opportunity to learn of His plan for salvation. Christ wants everyone to be saved.

"God is just—He shows no partiality. He will give everyone who has ever lived since Adam and Eve an opportunity for eternal life! And it will be eternal life in God's Kingdom, an eternity of peace and harmony for all!"

-- Johnny Kretz
Sedro-Woolley, Washington, congregation