After two years of quite unusual Christmases, with varying degrees of separation from loved ones, 2022 may feel like a return to more normal rhythms. Christmas is a time of connection and welcoming.
Much of the world celebrates the holiday with food, decorations, and gifts. Believers may celebrate in similar ways, but we are truly rejoicing coming of the Savior. Christmas is an opportunity to share the love of Jesus and model this love through welcoming.
Near Frontiers, an OC ministry, works to reach out with Christ’s love to refugees, immigrants, international students, and under-served people. In this season of Christmas, Bob, the director of Near Frontiers, shares ways we can outwardly show and practically apply Christ’s love to those around us.
Opening Your Home This Christmas
Our homes are one gift we can give to Jesus this holiday to be used for his purposes. Let your home be a place of hospitality and encouragement.
A few ideas of how to give your home to Christ this Christmas season:
- Rather than meeting someone at a nearby coffee shop, invite them to your home. Serve simple drinks like tea or coffee, with biscuits or cookies. Don’t pressure yourself to put out a fancy spread.
- It has been said that the front door of the home is the side door of the church. Getting to know you in your home gives the other person confidence to accept your invitation to a gathering with more people. Begin to invite neighbors or workmates to your home. Inviting others into your living space gives them an idea of who you are. As they see pictures of your family, they see you more personally.
- Invite those from different cultures. Many cultures are accustomed to gathering in homes, and it’s honoring to invite them into yours.
- You may have relatives near or far who would love to visit if invited. There may be guests who need lodging for a night or two, if only they knew they were welcome.
- If a neighbor or friend drops by unexpectedly, genuinely invite them into your home. Even if they cannot stay, you have shown hospitality. Offer a cup of tea.
Reaching Out to Those Near and Far
Another gift we can give Jesus is our time. We know that COVID-19 and other health concerns are still prominent. Many may still be distancing for their health or health of a loved one. Here are a few ideas of distanced or virtual opportunities to connect.
- If weather permits, invite your neighbors to outdoor gathering with hot chocolate and holiday goodies.
- Send a note and/or gift to someone who needs encouragement.
- Do you know a college student or coworker who is far from home? Give a care package or the ingredients for your favorite holiday treat.
- Schedule a Zoom call with someone you haven’t spoken to for a while.
- Ask your church if there are safe ways you can volunteer and reach out with the love of Christ.
Since Jesus is Lord of all, everything we possess truly belongs to Him, including our time and our homes. In offering these to Jesus as a gift, you are simply giving Him access to use you in whatever way He chooses. This can become a wonderful walk of faith as you pray and watch how Jesus wants to host visitors. Pray that He will give you creative ideas of who to invite to be a part of your life this season. Watch who He brings in answer to your prayers!
A Daily Prayer This Christmas Season
“Lord Jesus, I am yours. I offer myself and what I have back to you. Use me, and what I have, to encourage and welcome the stranger. Though I do not always feel confident as a host, I want to minister to those you love. Thank you for helping me to see and welcome others in Your name.”