Last December, the Daily Mail (UK) posted a story about one James Gray, 85, who placed an ad seeking someone to spend Christmas day with him, after spending the previous ten Christmases alone. Only one person responded and then later cancelled. When his story hit the front page of the paper, dozens of offers poured in.
Reading that, I instantly wondered how many people around me will be spending their holidays by themselves? Who of my neighbors would be in that same predicament this coming holiday? The truth is – maybe more than we care to know!
In a recent survey, fifty percent of Americans and thirty percent of Canadians don’t know their neighbors. Similarly, one third of Brits said they wouldn’t recognize their neighbors in a police line up.
Wow, that shocked me. We are missing so much in not meeting and knowing those that live right around us. People are looking for genuine relationships with each other, and somehow they are harder to develop these days.
In Jesus’ Kingdom, love takes the initiative. Love crosses the yard, the street, the hallway.
During Christmas, there are plenty of ways to get to know people and build relationships. And in Jesus’ economy, He always seems to have room for including people. Think Zaccheus.
Need some helpful resources or ideas?
Nan McCullough, on her blog entertainingforeternity.com, has a post that highlight the possibilities that football season can offer an opportunity for being “Jesus with skin on” to our neighbors. Who doesn’t love relaxing with neighbors while watching a game? What a great opportunity to get to know people and share some snacks or a light meal while rooting for your favorite team.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, just keeping an eye out for someone with no family in town can give you an opportunity to share your meal and give thanks together.
Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to neighbors- the spirit of the holiday is all about love. It’s the time of year when people want to be generous and kind. No one wants to go down as a Scrooge! It’s also a wonderful time to introduce people to the One who is the reason for the season.
A great resource can be found at ChristmasGatherings.com. Years ago, a woman answered her friend’s call to come and share her story with a group of neighbors at a morning coffee. And standing in the back of the room, another woman who had come to pray, got a vision for what has become known as Christmas Gatherings. The combination of hospitality, the holiday, the sharing of traditions all weave their strands into a beautiful setting for sharing the most precious gift of all. On this site, you can download a how to manual, watch videos of how to do one, and learn how to share the message of Christ with your friends.
If you’re thinking of doing something fun like this for this Christmas season, now is the time to start meeting your neighbors! May these resources will stimulate your imagination and creativity to reach out in ways that are truly yours!
God says, He “sets the lonely in families.” where they can experience His love, forgiveness and peace. The thing is He wants to do that through ordinary people, like you and me.
Let’s be “Jesus with skin on “ this holiday season! Let’s make the most of the season for His glory.
Guest Post by Andrea Buczynski
On any given day you might find Andrea in a meeting, on a plane, or in some part of the world where she meets amazing people and sees just a few of the awesome ways that God is working. She serves as the Global VP for Leadership Development and HR with Campus Crusade for Christ. When she’s home, she enjoy books, time with friends and occasionally gets to the beach.
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