If last week’s article challenges you and you would like to learn more about developing a holiday plan for your missionary community, here is the guide submitted by Saturate the world.

How to Make a Plan for the Holidays

By Brad Watson

Christmas often comes and goes with lots of fanfare but little focus. For a community, it can seem like a blur. What if you took the time to make a plan for growth before the season started and considered ways to care for one another, grow in your love for Jesus, and reach out to your neighbors? How can you use the times you are already getting together to make the most of this season?

Use these three questions to make a plan for how you will cultivate an environment for gospel enjoyment, community growth, and missional expression during this season as you continue to grow in your love for Christ, one another, and your neighbors.

We’ve included handful of ideas for each question to get you started. We know all of these ideas won’t work for every group, but we hope they are a springboard to help you think creatively about what this could look like for you. We also include an example of a community’s plan at the end.

What is one way your community will love one another during this season?

  • Do a “gift” exchange. You could do a traditional one where you all draw names and give physical gifts, or you can draw names and write thoughtful notes on how you see Christ in them and encourage them in the gifts God has given them for the community.
  • Share stories of what Christmas was like for you as a child, using this time to practice in the communal skill of sharing and listening to stories.
  • Give opportunity to share anxiety, worry, and sadness during this season, and pray for each other.
  • Take turns babysitting the children in your group so parents can go shopping together.
  • Have an advent feast where you celebrate intentionally and have a big meal together.

What is one way your community will love your neighbors together during this season?

  • Offer to haul away the Christmas trees after Christmas for your neighborhood.
  • Get gifts and thank-you cards for the cashiers at major grocery stories.
  • Throw a Christmas party as a community and invite the neighborhood, coworkers, and friends.
  • Look at what is happening in your town or city and serve together at those events/festivals.
  • Invite your friends or coworkers to your church’s Christmas Eve gathering and have dinner together afterward.

What is one way your community will intentionally grow in your love for God during this season?

  • Read the Christmas story in sections as a community when you get together leading up to Christmas (or use the Jesus Storybook Bible to engage your kids).
  • Walk through an advent guide. (Saturate’s Advent Guide for 2017 is coming November 20!)
  • Walk through an advent reading plan this season, and ask each other what you are learning when you get together each week.
  • Sing Christmas hymns and carols together.

Example of a Plan

November 29th — Ask people to share memories from childhood and how they are feeling this year headed into the season, and pray for each other (inward/community focus).

December 6th — Read the Christmas story and sing carols together (gospel enjoyment).

December 13th — Have a Christmas feast, share blessings with one another, and invite friends (communal and mission focus).

December 20th — Wrap presents together as a community. Some adults can play with the kids, and the rest wrap presents. Have drinks and sweets.