10 Ways to Be Missional With Your Holidays
By Rebecca Martin
It’s that time of year again! The weather is cooling off, final exams are approaching, and you can’t get away from Pumpkin Spice Lattes or Peppermint Mochas. With the holiday season come many fun traditions and events that can leave even the most laidback college student overwhelmed with busyness and their bank accounts emptier than they were before. Because of all of these things, many Christians struggle to keep their focus on Christ during the holidays, even though His birth - the arrival of the long-awaited messiah - is actually the foundation of Christmas!
During a season that is meant to bring glory to God and allow Christians to give back to others through service and generosity, why not also be intentional to be missional? Here are ten fun, easy ways to live missionally during the holiday season and during your winter break!
1. Invite an international student home with you for the holidays.
Did you know that there are international students from all over the world right on your college campus? And did you know that 8 out of 10 international students never step foot in an American home during their time in the US? This holiday season, you can help remedy this statistic. International students want to be friends with Americans and experience American culture. So this Thanksgiving or Christmas, why not load one or two internationals into your car and bring them home for the holidays? They’ll get to eat some of the best American foods, meet your family, and feel welcomed by our society. Plus, while they’re staying with you, you can easily transition into sharing the gospel with them as you explain the true meaning of the holidays!
2. Send holiday cheer to overseas missionaries.
One of the hardest times for missionaries to be overseas is the holiday season. They often miss their families, don’t have access to American foods traditionally eaten during the holidays, and are surrounded by thousands of people who don’t have any idea there’s even a holiday going on. Gather some friends and write Christmas cards to missionaries you know! Send them a care package with some seasonal gifts - canned pumpkin, stockings, and hot chocolate mix. Your simple act of generosity and thoughtfulness will lift the missionaries’ spirits and make their holiday season seem more like they’re at home.
3. Use your Christmas break to go on a mission trip.
Several missions agencies and campus ministries offer mission trips for college students during their winter break. Check with your church or campus minister to see what opportunities there are. Or check out the IMB’s Christmas in China mission trip. Sacrificing some of your break so that the unreached can hear the gospel is a great way to live missionally during the holidays.
4. Pumpkin Spice Lattes for the Nations!
As you’re packing up your dorm room to head home for the holidays, you’re probably already thinking about highschool friends you want to catch up with. Why not use some of that time to mobilize your friends? Take them to get coffee one afternoon and share the World Vision Illustration with them! Here’s a link to a video on how to share the WVI.
5. Give gifts that impact the unreached.
As you’re doing your Christmas shopping this year, why not make those dollars count? There are tons of companies that sell great giftable items that also impact the nations by supporting fair trade, employing marginalized people around the world, and spreading the gospel. A couple of companies like this include Joyn, Noonday Collection and Sole Hope, just to name a few. The options are endless! By giving gifts from companies like these, you’re not just blessing the gift receiver, but countless people around the world.
6. Have a Christmas party that shares the gospel.
Before you head home for the winter break, gather some friends and host a Christmas party! Pull out your tacky sweaters, make some sugar cookies, and grab a copy of Elf. Be sure to invite your international student friends and friends who are non-believers. During the evening, gather the group together and share the heart of Christmas. You can read from the Bible, or just tell the Christmas story. This is a simple way of communicating who Jesus is, why He came to Earth, and how it affects each person.
7. Commit to being a prayer warrior.
It has been said that, “prayer is our most fruitful ministry.” This holiday season, make a commitment to pray for the nations and the unreached. You could do this by making a prayer plan to follow during Advent, or you could make a prayer plan for your New Year’s Resolution. Use resources like Operation World and Joshua Project to make your prayer plan work.
8. Give gifts that mobilize.
Another way that you can make your Christmas shopping count for missions is by looking for gifts that will mobilize the receiver. You could give some missions books as gifts - here’s a great list of recommended titles. You could also purchase a child sponsorship in someone else’s name and give it to them for Christmas through an organization such as Compassion International.
9. Invest in your spiritual growth - go to a conference.
Many campus ministries have winter conferences during your winter break. By attending one of these conferences, you’ll get a great time of fellowship and be challenged in your Christian walk. These types of conferences will set you up to return to campus ready to share the gospel, engage in discipleship and impact the nations. There are also many good conferences emphasizing missions that occur annually or every few years, such as Cross Conference, Urbana and Passion. So grab some friends, borrow your mom’s minivan and head to a conference near you!
10. Fill a shoebox for a needy child.
Many churches hand out shoe boxes from Samaritan’s Purse every fall for people to fill with toys and toiletries to send to needy children throughout the world. Every child who receives an Operation Christmas Child box also hears the gospel and receives discipleship from missionaries. This is a simple way for you and your family, small group, roommate, etc. to bless a child physically and spiritually this holiday season.
So make this holiday season count! Pick and choose from these ten ideas to live missionally and impact the nations by going, sending and mobilizing in creative (and Christmassy) ways!