How does your church celebrate Christmas?
We posed a question on the USMB Facebook account and searched through some church newsletters for a few good ideas to share with you.
Ken Ediger, pastor of North Oak Community Church in Hays, Kansas, shared four simple but powerful, countercultural concepts to help us substitute consumption with compassion.
Prioritize Worship: This is not about attending church more often. It is about worshiping God in our everyday actions. We honor God by the way we act among our families, friends and colleagues. We worship him through offering every action to him. Christmas begins and ends with Jesus, so our every action reflects that truth.
Minimize Spending: This is not about being “grinchy.” It is about praying over and managing our spending. Instead of spending on impulse, we spend prayerfully. Instead of focusing on short-term pleasures, we practice restraint so we can support the things that really matter.
Maximize Giving: This is not about giving many or more expensive gifts. It’s about giving of ourselves. Give time. Give life. Give love. Give presence. Give intentionally. Give relationally. Jesus is described by the name Immanuel, which means God with us. From the very beginning, relationships have mattered to God. What would it look like for us to focus less on the presents and more on giving our time and presence?
Mobilize Love for All: This is not about cliché Christian platitudes. It’s about radically loving others like Jesus did. Love is action. Christmas is our chance to move closer to those in crisis, not further away. It is our time to notice those who are normally ignored. In short, it is our turn to love as we have been loved.
Gavin Linderman, pastor of Axiom Church in Peoria, Arizona, shared his ideas for reaching your community:
Deck the Halls. Host an evening together decorating your church building. Offer apple cider, play some good Christmas music and get those decorations up.
Christmas Tree Gallery. Invite the community to showcase their decorated trees and have prizes for the winners.
Host Advent yoga. Offer some quiet time and stretching each week during December. Focus on your Advent themes to help people stay centered on each week’s idea in preparation for Christmas.
Prepare Him room. This Christmas in Arizona we have the opportunity to host refugees seeking asylum and others hoping to be reconnected to their families. Provide a time of welcome and fellowship.
However you decide to celebrate Christmas, we hope you find peace and joy in all you do – both together as a church family and in your private times of worship for the miracle of Jesus.