Most of us are not looking for one more party or event to attend during the Christmas season. But we are interested in making a memory and a difference during this time of year. Our Sunday School class or small Bible study group can be a means for doing just that.
Connecting through serving
Connections come through doing something that is of value. The value is found in doing something that benefits more than ourselves.
When writing about how believers are to exercise their freedom, Paul reminded the Romans to pursue peace and actions that build others up (see Romans 14:19). The Amplified Bible reads this way: “So then, let us pursue [with enthusiasm] the things which make for peace and the building up of one another [things which lead to spiritual growth].” Shouldn’t this same principle be followed when planning class or group “parties”? What is the point of coming together if it is just another party in which we eat more sausage balls and exchange an ornament we will later give to someone else?
Ways to Serve together
With that in mind, let’s consider some Christmas season events that might help our class or group build others up while giving us an opportunity to make a memory and a difference. We realize the obvious of working in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, but we want to focus on some other actions we might take.
1. Participate in the church Christmas events as a class or group. We are not talking about attending as a group, but serving as a group. So much goes into a pageant or special service. We may forget about the need for ushers, hosts, greeters, parking attendants, and others working behind the scenes. We may even want to provide a meal or snack that supports the others working in the event. We can fill that gap and enjoy being together while serving others during this time.
2. Participating in the city Christmas parade. Most city parades are filled with marching bands, fire trucks, and floats. We can reach out to the planners and find out if we can be a part of the parade itself. We would want to wear something that identifies us as being with our church. If we enter a float, we can create a manger scene or some other moving display that points people to Jesus during this time. Being in the parade also allows us to see everyone in our community, giving us a greater understanding of where we live and the people our church needs to reach.
3. Working behind the scenes in a local event. Most city-wide events depend on volunteers. Our first thought may be that city workers will do that, but why can’t we help with cleaning afterward, directing people, working the hot chocolate booth, or setting up the stage for the annual Christmas tree lighting? We may find more satisfaction in working the parade or event than in watching it as we interact with others. Once again, we will want to do something that helps people know we represent our church while doing this service.
Don’t forget about other community events like Reindeer Runs or Jingle Bell Jogs. There are opportunities to participate (even for walkers) and to volunteer.
4. Recognizing first responders and hospital staff. For those of us with family who are public servants or medical workers, we understand they will work on holidays. A simple goodie bag goes a long way to encourage them. As a class or group, we can adopt a station, unit, or hospital floor and provide them with a goody bag. Be sure to reach out to the station, unit, or floor prior to organizing the delivery. We may not be able to deliver the bags as a group, but we can gather to make the goodies and create the goodie bags. We will want to make sure that what we make takes into account gluten sensitivities and allergies. We can then designate a few people to deliver the goodie bags on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning to the specific station, unit, or floor. We may want to include a card from the entire group with photos of the class making the goodies.
Christmas gives us natural opportunities to serve our church and community. We can do so as a class or group, opening the door for us to represent Jesus and grow through service in the process.