Christmas is the time of year when people are most open to spiritual things. Why not host a holiday party with a slight twist? Facilitate a fun discussion centered on Christmas! Invite neighbors, co-workers and/or friends of all different spiritual backgrounds to enjoy a time of sharing and getting to know each other.
Five Elements for a Party with a Twist
1. Provide for unstructured time with festive refreshments. Allow time for lots of spontaneous interaction and provide plenty of food. Christmas cookies and hot cider are always favorites. Also provide name tags if people will not know each other.
2. Allocate about an hour for fun group interaction. Use the Christmas Sharing activity that you can download at this link (page 2). Be aware that guests with different religious backgrounds may have never celebrated Christmas. Also, some guests may have bad memories or negative emotions associated with Christmas rather than feelings of endearment. Be sensitive to this and help all your guests feel welcome and included in the discussion.
3. Consider including an ornament exchange.
Limit the cost of the ornament to $5.
4. Read the Christmas story. Plan on reading Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20 from The Message so that people who are familiar with the account will be able to see it with fresh eyes, and those who are not familiar will find it easier to understand.
- Consider passing out printed copies of this passage and asking those who feel comfortable to read one section at a time. This way, people can hear and see Scripture as they discuss. Plus, they can take it home.
- Invite everyone to share their general reaction to this passage or go deeper by asking questions like those below.
- Of course, don’t become the answer person or teacher or be confrontational. Allow people simply to discuss and respond to the Bible narrative, respecting each person’s viewpoint. These questions will help start the discussion:
- What is your initial reaction to this passage?
- What stands out to you? Why?
- What questions does it raise for you?
- How do you think this event impacted Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds?
- What impact, if any, does this story have today?
5. You could wrap up by singing “Silent Night” together (a capella). Be sure to provide copies of the song for everyone.