I want to begin by re-orientating ourselves to the truth that we extend a welcome to others because God has welcomed us.
Here are a few of those scriptures.
Romans 15:7 (NRSV)
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God.
Hebrews 13:1-3 (The Message)
Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it! Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you.
We tend to think of hospitality to only mean inviting people into our homes. While that is very true and important, there are many other ways to welcome people. The following are some general principals I learned about in my reading.
❊ Prepare your heart to be God’s love to others
❊ Pray about who to invite
❊ Pray for your guests as they drive to you and after they leave
❊ Consider how to cross invisible barriers
o Invite people who are not part of your circle of friends, perhaps even strangers
❊ Don’t let perfection get in the way.
❊ Keep things simple. What people need most is someone who will be present to them, listen to them without judgement, let them know they are valued and loved by you and by God.
❊ If the purpose is to share the gospel, have a plan about how and when to do so.
❊ Prepare open-ended questions ahead of time like:
o What are some of your favourite Christmas memories growing up? or What is most difficult for you during this season?
o Helps to connect with people at a deeper level
o Conversation Starters World, is an example of helpful websites you might find
Host a Christmas Party
Host an Open House: serve things like light refreshments, coffee and cake or cookies. It is helpful to concentrate on 1 group of people at a time.
Host a Brunch
Plan a cookie/gingerbread house decorating contest
Meet at a coffee shop
Have lunch in a restaurant.
See Christmas Light Display
Invite someone for a sandwich followed by a long walk
A movie night with popcorn and drinks
Hot Chocolate night
Nacho Night: place nachos on plates. Put various toppings in separate bowls (jalapeños, salsa, sour cream, and cheese) on the table and people can help themselves. You can even shove them in the oven to melt the cheese.
Bring & Share: This is great for large groups. Tell everyone to bring their favourite snacks.
Games: Invite a few people or another family over to play a game. Any game. Board games, cards or make one up! Sweet and savoury snacks usually goes down great!