Christmas Companions and Connections
This guest post is by Joanna Loucky-Ramsey
During this holiday season, after many months of separation due to the pandemic, we honor God who willingly sent his only Son to repair the connection with humanity that had been broken by sin. Reconnecting with family, friends and community members is one way we can celebrate what God has made possible through his love.
Gratitude & Greetings
Send Christmas greetings along with thanks for members’ participation in the group. Encourage members to connect with each other through the time-honored exchange of cards, or by posting greetings, family photos and videos on a church bulletin board and/or your group social media site or church website (working with your church tech team).
For in-person gatherings, have each participant write his or her name at the top of a piece of paper, and pass it to the right. Each group member writes a note of appreciation or encouragement on the paper for the person whose name is at the top. Then members pass the papers to the right again. When you get your own paper back, the activity is finished. Participants can keep their paper as a reminder of their worth.
Alternatively, during Advent, or after Christmas, email group members daily, highlighting a different participant in the Subject Line each day. Include this message: Please share:
- one thing you appreciate about the person in the Subject Line of today’s email
- a spiritual gift or positive character trait you’ve noticed in that person
- something inspirational you saw the person do
- a scripture verse, prayer, or blessing you want to “gift” that group member
Once a week during December, send an email to group members, inviting anyone who wants to participate to hit “Reply all” to send their response to the entire group. Ask non-threatening questions that don’t demand lengthy answers, but that can elicit answers that allow members to get better acquainted with each other. Or choose one as an icebreaker for an in person gathering.
- Name a Christmas carol that best describes how you feel right now about the Christmas season. Feel free to elaborate, if you wish.
- Name a character, real or imaginary, religious or secular, associated with the Christmas season, with whom you identify, and tell us why you identify with that person.
- If you could give one person anything for Christmas this year, and money was no object, what would you give, and to whom would you give it?
- Describe or bring a favorite Christmas tree ornament to the group meeting, or share a photo if meeting virtually. Explain why you treasure this ornament.
- The magi were drawn by a star to search for the Christ-child. Angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, who were motivated to hurry to Bethlehem to see the newborn babe. Who or what first drew you to Christ?
Christmas is a great time to pull out old family recipes to share, whether through an onsite intergenerational, communal Christmas Cookie Decorating Party, Sweet Swap (when people bring something they baked or made to share, and take something else home), or Holiday potluck.
Decorate miniature Christmas trees with ornaments from a particular continent, or based on a theme, such as music, angels, animals, “A Country Christmas,” etc.
Or organize a display of nativities from around the world. Invite people to donate or loan nativities to set up in your fellowship or worship space, that guests can view on specific dates when your church hosts an open house, a Christmas pageant or concert.
Ask your neighborhood center, nursing home, homeless shelter, or other community service organization, for ideas of intangible gifts their clients or contacts could use. Have group members create coupons that community members can return to receive services you are willing to offer. Include the name of the gift or service, the name and contact information of the person offering the gift, and an expiration date, if applicable.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- A ride to a medical appointment
- A half-hour of conversation or listening
- Coffee companion
- Dinner in group member’s home
- Drive around town to look at Christmas lights
- Christmas shopping
- A companion for a walk
- A visit with a friendly pet
- A commitment to pray for the individual or family
- Simple home repair
- An invitation to your church or a specific activity or group
- Oil change, tuneup
With this activity, you can continue making Christmas connections into 2023!
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This guest post was written by: Joanna Loucky-Ramsey
Joanna Loucky-Ramsey is an ordained minister who has served churches of various denominations from Alaska to New York. A poet, playwright and singer-songwriter, she has been a staff writer for The Wired Word since 2012. The founder of Doggerel for Dogs lives in Norfolk, New York, with her husband, Bill, and Keeshonden dogs, Havel and Sundance Kid. Her life focus is “looking unto Jesus,” and her life verses are Hebrews 12:1-2 and Micah 6:8.
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