As a kid we used to go to church services on the holidays. During Christmas it was nice to see all the pretty lights and be around people that shared our faith. But something didn’t feel right. Although we went to church it didn’t feel like a welcoming place. Sure we knew some of the people because we also attended the school that was affiliated with the church. But we were more acquaintances instead of involved in each others lives.
As I got older I started to attend church less often but continued in the tradition of going to church on the holidays. After a few years of doing this, it just lost its appeal and then I stopped going altogether. Looking back now I see that the appeal was lost because something was missing. I just didn’t know what it was at the time. Sure we should attend church regularly but it should be more special during the holidays. I grew to see that what was missing was a spirit of fellowship and family. I’m not talking about immediate family but a church family. When you have relationships with other church members it makes the holidays even more special.
So how is it supposed to be during the holidays? What does a church family look like and how do they act? Here are some things that I have seen and experienced.
1. Membership-Not all churches require you to become a “member” of their church. But not being a member kind of makes you a spectator. What I mean by this is, a spectator shows up to church but doesn’t really know anyone. Although it’s good they attend church it’s a different experience than one would have if they were a member.
2. Relationships-Establishing relationships in the church will make a person feel more connected. Not only can you attend church services and know someone, you can also speak to them outside of church. In our church we have congregation dinners, baby showers, birthday surprises, etc. It’s nice to share a special time with people that care about you.
3. Involvement- Attending events are always nice but actually setting up the events such as decorating the church, setting up the fellowship hall before the dinner, or volunteering with the children’s Christmas plays adds a little something extra. Being involved makes it even more exciting.
4. Service-It’s wonderful to celebrate the holidays but there are those that don’t particularly enjoy it. They may not have family, or they may be homeless. Maybe they don’t have money or maybe they’ve experienced a recent loss. These are the ones that we should reach out to. For communities who have a high population of homeless, having a food drive is a great way to lift the spirits of people and meet others. Or taking a meal to a nursing facility would put a little love in the heart of someone that doesn’t have visitors. No one should be alone, especially on the holidays.
Even though this is a short list of some things that we can do to make the holidays come alive, with a little imagination the list can grow. Instead of being a spectator this holiday season, get involved and establish relationships, serve your community, and lend a helping hand to someone that may need it.