Throughout Advent, we have shared some reflections on hosting the presence of God this Christmas, as well as hosting the people and celebrations. The final blog in the series, this week we want to enable you as Student Workers to make the most of the Christmas season as you rest and reflect.
Christmas provides a great opportunity to take a breather, sit back, reflect and celebrate the amazing things God has done this year in our churches, student ministries, and personal lives. As students head home and we look towards a week or so of rest, here are some practical tips for students and Student Workers on how to keep Jesus at the centre this Christmas and into the new year.
Hosting the Presence of God
Let’s start by keeping the main thing the main thing and that is Jesus. It feels strange to say that, afterall Christmas is named after ‘Christ’ but here in the western world, Christmas has become so commercialised that we can end up forgetting the reason for the season. We can forget what we are celebrating,the birth of our king, Jesus! How can we host God’s presence in this season? This year has been tough for many but gratitude and thankfulness breeds joy. ‘Tis to the season to be jolly after all!
In your quiet time, why not take a year's audit and reflect on what prayers God has answered or what He has done for you this year, writing down at least one thing for each month.
Student Workers, how can you encourage your students this Christmas to focus and practice celebration and thankfulness?
Hosting the People
If there’s one thing these last two years have shown us it’s the importance of close community. We say this word a lot in church circles but amongst the big student events, church, discipleship courses and outreach initiatives we can forget that first and foremost church is community. Over this Christmas and leading into the new year we have a great opportunity to invite others into the family.
As you look ahead, how can you prioritise the community aspect of student work next semester? How can you encourage your student leaders to build communities and develop deep relationships with one another?
Why not encourage your students to start praying boldly about who God wants them to invite to church or small group next year. They may be surprised It could be someone completely rogue!
Big events are great at getting students through the door but it’s not what keeps them. Focus on building really strong small groups by keeping most socials and student activities decentralised within each small group to facilitate student community growth.
Hosting the Party
We see throughout scripture that Jesus attended and celebrated a lot of feasts, parties, and meals. Hospitality was a big part of the Jewish culture in Jesus’ time, so important that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at the wedding party in Cana just so the hosts wouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed that they couldn't provide enough for their guests! (John 2:1-11).
Some of us won’t be hosting the party ourselves but we can all leverage the opportunities Christmas provides to gather friends and family together to celebrate the goodness of God.
Why not strike up a conversation with a family member or friend where you both reflect on what you are thankful for this year?
If your students find themselves spending Christmas with non-Christian friends and family members, how can you enable them to be extra intentional in conversations, mentioning where they have seen God move this year?
What if your students spent some of their time at home sharing their reason for celebration on their Instagram story or TikTok account? This year we have already heard stories of students coming to faith through social media. Christmas is the perfect time to share boldly.
Our prayer for you is that the next few weeks will be full of joy as we celebrate the birth of Jesus! May you start the New Year knowing Jesus closer, more full of His peace, and ready for a year of seeing students find hope in Jesus.