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Christmas in the Neighborhood

artboard-1I love this time of year. Besides the wonderful opportunity to celebrate Christ’s coming to earth as our Redeemer, it seems as though most people are more open to get-togethers that include a spiritual emphasis. For many years, our family has looked for ways to celebrate Christmas not just with our family and friends from church, but also with our neighbors.

For several years, we have gone Christmas caroling with neighbors. A few years ago when we caroled at Jane and Paul’s house for the first time, they enjoyed our singing so much that they asked if they could join us the next year!

One year we had a Christmas Cookie exchange party. Three of us planned and prepared and invited ladies from the neighborhood, and eight came! We shared favorite Christmas traditions and what Christmas meant to each of us, and we all took home delicious cookies. We were excited to see how our casual sharing in the party gave us an indication of what our neighbors believed about Jesus.

Last Christmas we had a Christmas party which included a reading of the Christmas story. After sharing Christmas goodies together and laughing over ice breaker questions, we handed out a printed copy of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke and facilitated a short discussion about it. Everyone seemed to enjoy the story and the chance to talk openly about what it meant to them.

Out of these Christmas activities over the years, Q Place groups have started up in our neighborhood. In those groups, neighbors who had never spent time investigating Scripture have thoroughly enjoyed discovering God’s Word for themselves. As groups began, I wasn’t always sure where participants were in their spiritual journey. Some, like our skeptical friend Phil, acknowledged faith in Christ at the end of our discussion on "What Difference Does Jesus Make?" Another friend, Janet, said that as we were studying the Bible in our group, she was learning how to trust God through a terminal illness. As groups progressed, many confessed belief in Christ. Neighbors have gone back to church, some have recommitted their lives to God, and some have risen to the task of facilitating Q Place discussion groups of their own.

I am thankful for this wonderful, loving, relational time of year when God opens many doors for us to love our neighbors as ourselves. What about your neighborhood or workplace or workout center? Maybe you could invite people into a time of laughter, joy, and celebration at this wonderful time of year called Christmas. I challenge you to pray about it and look for opportunities. I’m confident they are waiting to be discovered.

Nancy Klaassen
Q Place Catalyst
Ottawa, IL