The Christmas season is here, and life seems to have kicked into high gear. I know for me, the whirlwind of activity with my four kids, friends, family, church Christmas programs, office parties, and seemingly endless shopping can blind me to those who do not know the true meaning of Christmas. Yet, deep in my heart, I hear the distant cry of this multitude of people. John h. Sandford beautifully gives voice to their plea in his poem, "They Never heard of Christmas:"
Why have we not heard of Christmas?
Why have you denied us light;
We who long have groped in darkness
Chained by sorrow, sin and night?
Why have you refused to tell us
Of this Son born from above?
Why have you withheld such tidings
Of God's condescending love?
When was it you learned of Christmas?
has this story just been heard?
Can it be that God would send him
Just for you who hold his Word?
Will you still deny us Christmas?
Will we still reach out in vain?
Can it be that we must perish
Never having heard that Name?
All our fathers died in torment,
Racked with anguish, fear and pain;
Never knowing of a Savior,
Never breathing Jesus' Name!
Hear the words of hopeless millions,
Dying where no light has been:
"Won't you share this Christ of Christmas,
Let him save us from our sin?"
This Christmas, make the choice to listen to the lost. As a small group, plan to have several Christmas parties by asking pairs of families in your group to team up and host a party for those people in their own neighborhoods. After deciding on a host home for the party, the two couples or two different members of the group should develop an invitation list depending on what kind of party they would like to have. There are several options as to who could be invited: The party can be for adults only, families, just women (during the day), or a children's "birthday party for Jesus." Create the invitations appropriate to the type of party and hand-deliver them to those in the selected neighborhood. A personal invitation with a warm smile and handshake will greatly encourage your neighbors to attend. Ask the neighbors to bring their favorite festive dish to share, and let them know that you will be providing the drinks and place settings.
If the party will be for adults only, give each person a nametag as they arrive, asking them to write their first and last name in the center of the tag. Ask them to write their hometown in the upper left-hand corner, their profession or job in the upper right-hand corner, their favorite hobby in the lower left-hand corner, and their childhood hero in the lower right-hand corner. This simple activity will encourage conversation throughout the entire evening. Do a fun icebreaker together, pray for the meal, and eat. After everyone is finished eating, join together in one room and sing some Christmas carols. You can have someone play the piano or guitar, sing along to a Christmas CD, or sing a cappella. Take some time and ask everyone to share his or her favorite Christmas memory, with the host sharing first. This will be a unique and special time of developing intimacy with your neighbors. If you feel it's appropriate, end this sharing time with your testimony of coming to know Christ as your personal savior.
Ask your group members to continue building relationships with their neighbors in the coming year. Pray, as a group, for those neighbors that do not have a personal relationship with Christ. As your members get to know their neighbors better, have them extend an invitation to attend your small group.