If you are a church leader, you are probably pretty tired today. You have drunk roughly 13 gallons of egg nog, tasted every Christmas cookie that little old ladies can bake, and strung 42,803 lights around the church building. After watching 4-year olds pick their noses through yet another verse of Silent Night, you are ready for some well-earned time away from the world. Ah…a few quiet days leading up to Christmas to hang out with your family…and no one else.
And surely, you deserve this! But can I encourage you to make just a bit of space for one or two people who you can invite into your circle during this holiday season? Maybe someone who doesn’t have family around or, even worse, has lost family during this time of year. Someone who just wants to be around a nice, healthy family so they can also celebrate Christmas well.
I have experienced an incredible amount of loss in the past 8 years. A few days ago I wept through the 8-year anniversary of my father’s car accident, which claimed his life, and this Christmas will be my first without my mother, grandmother, and grandfather. In spite of all this, I still have a lot of family to surround me at Christmas, but it makes me wonder about those who don’t. I cannot imagine spending Christmas alone, especially if there is grieving attached to the holidays.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t want another church Christmas party, and I’m not allowed to play favorites!” Well, I would disagree with that, and I think Jesus would too. At least, He gave many people the opportunity to follow Him, but not everyone took Him up on it. The ones who did—those persons of peace—wanted to be with Him, followed Him, served Him, gave up everything for Him. Because of His disciples’ loyalty and love, He spent way more time with them than with anyone else. They became His new oikos, or spiritual extended family, and He happily invited them in to see every victory and struggle of His life. I wonder if He was accused of being part of a clique…didn’t seem to bother Him though. He knew that multiplying His life in a few who would then go do the same, was the most effective way to build the Kingdom.
I think we have those people in our lives, too. Those people of peace who are loyal and loving to us, they make up our oikos. And if Jesus is our example, we don’t need to be afraid to invite them in, especially into places where others won’t come anyway. And especially if they are alone during the holidays.
So this Christmas season, dare to invite someone in who may have no one, especially if it is a person of peace. It will make an indelible impact on your family, and who knows but it may just save someone’s life.
The more the merrier the Christmas! And I hope you have a truly great one.