A Christmas Collection of Timely Tips
A Christmas Collection
- Merry Christmas! We use the word merry at Christmastime—and almost never at other times of the year. It means “full of cheerfulness” or “lighthearted joy.” What a fitting word to pair with Christmas! Jesus came into the world to lift sin’s burden once and for all. His coming not only makes our hearts light, but he is the reason we have joy—a lasting cheerfulness—that transcends hardships, illness, and even death. As you reflect upon Christ’s coming, may God empower you to share our Savior’s birth with greater-than-ever joy. Merry Christmas!
- Many overseas missionaries spend Christmas far from home. Help them feel “at home” with you this year in any of several ways:
- Encourage Sunday school class members to e-mail Christmas and New Year’s greetings to God’s courageous servants who share the Gospel far from home.
- Begin early if your Sunday school classes plan to send holiday greetings via surface mail to missionaries. While e-mails are instant, cards and letters sent through regular mail carriers can take weeks, especially if you intend to reach missionaries serving in countries overseas. This is also true for missionary packages. Mail much earlier than you think you must, if you want to ensure delivery by Christmas.
- Pray for missionaries, military members, and business personnel who serve away from home.
- The Christmas season often involves much extra effort for volunteers, as well as pastors, teachers, and other staff who serve your church and school. Let each of these people know—in a tangible way—how much you appreciate their efforts during this busy season. For example:
- Cook and deliver dinner to your child’s Sunday school teacher.
- Plan and prepare a meal to deliver on a day when the pastor(s) lead evening worship or host a special holiday event.
- Deliver a lunch-time pizza to your church’s youth worker.
- Offer to help your pastor or the teachers in your church’s school wrap Christmas gifts one evening or on a Saturday morning before Christmas.
- Make and send a thank-you card to each church worker in your congregation in appreciation for all they’ve done to extend God’s kingdom in the past year.
- Give all your volunteers a small thank-you gift from CTA’s array of Christmas items or from our Ornaments of Faith ® collection
- Pray for your church staff all season long, asking God to give them strength, but most of all joy, as they work to keep Christ in Christmas.
- Use photos from your church directory to fashion an oversized Christmas greeting card. On a piece of poster board (or a bulletin board in your fellowship hall), apply pictures of congregation members, in collage fashion to make a candle shape. Print the title “Sharing the Light of Christ This Christmas” around the collage.
- Display the card in your church entryway or some other high-traffic area, to encourage members to share the light of Christ!
- Also consider taking a photo of the resulting card to your local newspaper. Buy an ad that will include dates and times of special services and other celebrations. Use the ad to invite your community to join your church as you celebrate Jesus’ birth this December.
Get permission to set up a church-sponsored free gift-wrap booth at your local discount store or shopping mall. As volunteers wrap gifts, encourage them to share Jesus, the best gift of all, with people who stop by your booth for your free and friendly service. Give one of CTA’s value-priced gift items as a reminder of Jesus’ love and forgiveness to all your “customers.”
- Christmas is the only time some people will attend church all year. Talk with your church staff and Outreach Committee to brainstorm ways you might identify and follow up with these folks, so you can share Jesus and his forgiving love with them. Encourage active church members to personally greet visitors and sit with them. Invite visitors to sign a Welcome Book, and schedule ministry team contacts with your guests after Christmas.
- Pass along peace. Have your youth group or women’s group provide free or donation-based babysitting for busy families so they can shop in peace this Christmas—and avoid the struggle of managing little ones in crowded malls and shops. While the children are in your care, read the Christmas story to them. You might also help them make simple crafts that point to Jesus as the real reason for our Christmas celebration. Or use one of CTA’s children’s Christmas party planners as an idea resource.
- Remember congregation members who are elderly or shut-ins in a special way this Christmas:
- Give each shut-in a subscription to a Christian magazine. Stories and articles may serve as a catalyst for discussion during pastor or elder visits each month.
- Deck the halls—and the living rooms—of your congregation’s shut-ins. Many may no longer have the ability to get bulky or heavy Christmas decorations down from the attic or storage area in the garage. Have one or two volunteers phone ahead to see which shut-ins would appreciate this service. Form teams of adults and kids, or let family members work together to visit one or two homes and decorate them. (Nonmembers who live in your neighborhood may appreciate your thoughtfulness too!)
- Enlist families or Sunday school classes to make decorations to take and display in the homes of the shut-ins in your community. Be sure to include messages on the decorations like: Merry Christmas! Jesus is born! Or, Our Savior has come! Rejoice!
- Work with members of the youth group or adult Bible study classes to identify elderly adults—not necessarily shut-ins—who may need help this Christmas season. Ask if you may string outdoor Christmas lights for those who are too unsteady to climb a ladder. Offer to address Christmas card envelopes for people who have trouble doing this for themselves, or assist in gift wrapping and deliver the packages that must be mailed to the post office.
- Make each day in December count by sending one Christmas card to a different elderly, struggling, or shut-in member each day. Add a personal note, if you can, and remember to pray for each person as you address his or her greeting card.
- Consider hosting a women’s tea—either in someone’s home for a small gathering of friends or at church—inviting all the women in your congregation. Ask each attendee to bring her own cup and saucer. (Have a few extras on hand, just in case!) Plan to serve a variety of different teas, coffees, and hot cocoa. Also, provide simple sweet breads or coffee cakes. Encourage your guests to use this time to relax and take a deep breath during the sometimes hectic holiday season. After everyone has arrived and has been served, share a simple devotion together. For example, have someone read the Christmas story from Luke 2, and then ask everyone to share a favorite Christmas memory.
- Plan a stocking stuffing social for your women’s group. Women of all ages will enjoy stuffing Christmas stockings for shut-ins or nursing home residents. Inside each stocking, include warm socks or slippers, a small plastic bag of homemade cookies or candy, a devotional booklet, a Christmas ornament, chewing gum, a Christian bookmark, and more. < Link here to CTA’s Christmas landing page. > Deliver the stockings in time for Christmas.
- Invite people from every age group for a special night of sharing memories and faith. As participants work together to make simple Christmas tree ornaments or bake holiday treats for shut-ins or the homeless, encourage each person to share a favorite holiday memory. Who knows? Maybe a long-forgotten tradition will be adopted (or adapted) as a brand-new family activity!
- To help little ones focus on the real meaning of the holiday season, why not plan a birthday party for Jesus? Here are some ideas:
- Let children help you bake and decorate a cake.
- Play a Christmas version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
- Draw a Christmas tree on a large piece of green paper and post it on a wall at the children’s eye level.
- Cut out a yellow star and put a ring of tape on one side.
- At the party, let children take turns wearing a blindfold as they attempt to place the star atop the Christmas tree.
- Be sure to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus before eating the cake!