The Holidays are crazy. Family is coming and going. Shopping for even simple things is complicated because of the crowds. Temptation is everywhere to overeat and overspend. I love the Holidays, but they are crazy times.
In many ways, the holiday season offers us time to pause and reflect on what matters most in life. Faith, family, and friends are some of the things that we treasure during this season. The familiar songs bring back childhood memories. The sights and sounds transform everything around us into something new and almost magical. Almost.
For many of us, the Holidays have a dark side. The temptation to overeat and overspend is more than something to be joked about at parties…it is a pitfall and a threat. The family that comes and goes, brings anxiety and takes joy. Familiar songs are reminders of even more familiar feelings of loss left by loved ones who are not with us anymore. Parties bring temptations and pressure. The Holidays can be times of darkness that expose feelings of loneliness, depression, and fear.
But there is an antidote to loneliness, despair, and fear.
It is the power of the Gospel lived out through God’s people in Christian community.
Here are 3 reasons that church small groups matter more during the Holidays.
1. In our small groups at church we have an opportunity to rally around one another so that no one feels alone. The holidays are busy times, and we often need to say no to some activities so that we can appreciate the simple experiences of family and friends. But church small groups need to be sure and maintain connection during the holidays. Fellowships are good, but thoughtful and consistent contact is better. Care groups should be especially active. Look at the rolls and see who’s been missing. Everyone on every roll should be contacted during the holidays with a message that says, “We love you. You matter. We are here for you.” The church is a family of families. And for those whose families at home are currently a source of pain, we step in to be a source of joy.
2. In our small groups at church we have a chance to remind each other what the true meaning of the season is. We teach the Gospel of God’s great rescue mission and how it began in a simple stable. We teach that God has called us to sacrificial service in caring for the poor instead of surrounding ourselves with excess. When we care for the poor we live out the Gospel to hurting people. We teach that all of our needs for love, joy, and satisfaction are met in Jesus. We teach truth. We proclaim hope. We declare God’s goodness and mercy. When we meet together to open God’s Word and walk in its light, we find guidance to make it down any path together.
3. In our small groups at church, we find strength to change lives through ministry together. Yesterday I visited with a mom whose young child has cancer, and they will spend the holidays in the hospital. Today one of our ministry groups encountered a family living in staggering need. There are families in our congregation that are suffering in shame and silence, because no one has cared enough to notice the signs of pain. There are families in our neighborhoods who need to be told that they matter to us and to Jesus…because today they don’t know that is true. There are people who drive past our church everyday who are broken and need hope. When we put our hearts, heads, and hands together as small groups we can make a difference in some of these lives.
Sunday School small groups always matter. We need what we experience in them all year long. But during the Holidays we need them even more. This season offers us a chance to meet specific needs and make a real difference through Sunday School. Let’s work together to be diligent and make the most of it.