Merry Christmas! We use the word merry at Christmastime—and almost never at other times of the year. It means “full of cheerfulness” or “lighthearted joy.” What a fitting word to pair with Christmas! Jesus came into the world to lift sin’s burden once and for all. His coming not only makes our hearts light, but he is the reason we have joy—a lasting cheerfulness—that transcends hardships, illness, and even death. As you reflect upon Christ’s coming, may God empower you to share our Savior’s birth with greater-than-ever joy. Merry Christmas!

  • Many overseas missionaries spend Christmas far from home. Help them feel “at home” with you this year:
    • Start right away! If your Sunday school classes plan to send holiday greetings to missionaries via “snail mail,” get them to the post office soon. While e-mails are instant, cards and letters sent through regular mail carriers can take weeks, especially if you intend to reach missionaries serving in countries overseas. This is also true for missionary packages. Mail much earlier than you think you must, if you want to ensure delivery by Christmas.
    • Encourage Sunday school class members to e-mail Christmas and New Year’s greetings to God’s courageous servants who share the Gospel far from home.
    • Pray for missionaries, military members, and business personnel who serve away from home.
  • The Christmas season often involves a lot of extra effort for volunteers, as well as pastors, teachers, and other staff who serve your church and school. Let each of these people know—in a tangible way—how much you appreciate their efforts during this busy season. For example:
    • Cook and deliver dinner to Sunday school teachers.
    • Plan and prepare a meal to deliver on a day when the pastor(s) leads evening worship or host a special holiday event.
    • Deliver a lunchtime pizza to your church’s youth worker.
    • Offer to help your pastor or the teachers in your church’s school wrap Christmas gifts one evening or on a Saturday morning.
    • Make and send a thank-you card to each church worker in your congregation in appreciation for all they’ve done to extend God’s Kingdom in the past year.
    • Give all your volunteers a small thank-you gift from CTA’s array of Christmas items or from the Ornaments of Faith® collection.
    • Pray for your church staff all season long, asking God to give them strength, but most of all joy, as they work to keep Christ in Christmas.
  • Use photos from your church directory to create an oversized Christmas greeting card. On a piece of poster board (or a bulletin board in your fellowship hall), apply pictures of congregation members, in collage fashion to make a candle shape. Print the title “Sharing the Light of Christ This Christmas” around the collage.
    • Display the card in your church entryway or some other high-traffic area, to encourage members to share the light of Christ!
    • Also consider taking a photo of the oversized card to your local newspaper. Buy an ad that will include dates and times of your church’s special services and other celebrations. Use the ad to invite your community to join your church as you celebrate Jesus’ birth this December.
  • Christmas is the only time some people will attend church all year. Talk with your church staff and outreach committee to brainstorm ways you might identify and follow up with these people, so you can share Jesus and his love with them. Encourage active church members to personally greet visitors and sit with them. Invite visitors to sign a welcome book and assign ministry team members to follow up with your guests after Christmas.
  • Remember church members who are elderly or shut-ins in a special way this Christmas:
    • Give each shut-in a subscription to a Christian magazine. Stories and articles may serve as a catalyst for discussion during pastor or elder visits each month.
    • Deck the halls—and the living rooms—of your ministry’s shut-ins. Many may no longer have the ability to get bulky or heavy Christmas decorations down from the attic or storage area in the garage. Have one or two volunteers call ahead to see which shut-ins would appreciate this service. Form teams of adults and kids, or let family members work together to visit one or two homes and decorate them. (Nonmembers who live in your neighborhood may appreciate your thoughtfulness too!)
    • Enlist families or Sunday school classes to make decorations to take and display in the homes of the shut-ins in your community. Be sure to include messages on the decorations like: Merry Christmas! Jesus is born! Or, Our Savior has come! Rejoice!
    • Work with members of the youth group or adult Bible study classes to identify seniors—not necessarily shut-ins—who may need help this Christmas season. Ask if you may string outdoor Christmas lights for those who are too unsteady to climb a ladder. Offer to address Christmas card envelopes for people who have trouble doing this for themselves, or assist in gift wrapping and deliver the packages that must be mailed to the post office.
    • Make each day in December count by sending one Christmas card to a different elderly, struggling, or shut-in member each day. Add a personal note, if you can, and remember to pray for each person as you address his or her greeting card.

 

You are welcome to copy this article for one-time use when you include this credit line and receive no monetary benefit from it: © 2017 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.

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