Christmas time is one of the most strategic opportunities for Christians to make disciples. People are more open to connect and gather around Christmas time, and there are unlimited ways to turn simple conversations about decor, or holiday songs, or traditions towards Jesus. A simple, natural way to see all of these things come together is intentional hospitality. Through hospitality disciple makers use their homes to worship Jesus as the focal point of a Christmas, while inviting those closest to us, (our neighbors) to come in to experience that.
Dhati Lewis says that "hospitality is creating space where the stranger can become a friend. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer the space where change can take place."
I love this because most likely around Christmas we welcome family and close friends into our homes, but hospitality makes room for strangers too. One of the most well known images of Christmas time is the nativity scene which, according to the scriptures, is a display of hospitality.
"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."
We aren't clear who it was, but someone created space for welcoming these strangers to give birth to the King, who would welcome us to God. As Christians, our homes should be the most welcoming to strangers and unbelievers so that they can meet this king too. God has placed each of us exactly where we are on purpose. We are to be a light for Christ to those that God chose to have live near us. Here are a few ideas for hospitality and missional engagement this Christmas. These are simple ways to welcome people in for long term relationship. We must then prayerfully introduce Jesus and trust him with the rest.
Host a gift exchange - invite neighbors to come to your house and bring a gift to exchange with other neighbors. Make your gift explicitly Christian, something like a Bible or book about the gospel.
Host a Christmas socia l- invite neighbors to hang out for coffee, cake, and stories. Take 2 minutes to address everyone by reading from a Christmas passage and praying.
Host a cookie baking - invite neighbors over to bake cookies and then take them to other neighbors together as a way to show love. Attach a gospel/Christmas passage.
Host a movie night - invite neighbors to watch a Christmas movie at your house. Pick a movie with some gospel tones, and tell them why the movie is meaningful to you.
Invite neighbors to decorate with you - as you spend time decorating, explain what decorations mean and what they point to.
Invite neighbors to do a family tradition with you - build deeper intimacy and trust as neighbors see how you make Christmas explicitly gospel focused.
Invite neighbors to Christmas service with you and to dinner in your home after - Our church has developed an easy win for us all to invite our neighbors to Christmas Eve services and creating space for personal follow up.
Christmas Eve Service Invites
Inviting people to church and having gospel conversations is intimidating. Believe me, I get it. But anyone who has witnessed to another person will tell you that there is an unbelievable and special communion with God in the Spirit when we go and tell. I want desperately for you to feel this kind of fellowship with Christ. There are two different Christmas Eve invitations that will be available to you this Sunday. One has service time info for all campuses and is designed for situations where you may not have a strong personal connection to someone, perhaps at work, at the grocery store, in your neighborhood, etc.. The other has specific campus service times and space for a hand-written invitation for those people whom God is putting on your heart to pray, to invite, and to pursue.
Photo by Daniels Joffe on Unsplash