When we share our stories and traditions with students, we are sharing ourselves—and that is intrinsically interesting. It cuts across cultures and stimulates questions and discussions. After telling your story (or stories!), ask if you can share the most important story you know: the reason for the season. Share the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth, childhood, adult ministry, death, and resurrection. Try to do that in just four minutes! (You can do it with practice!)
If you have a small gift for your student friends, that would make the time even more special. Possibilities might be an electric tea pot, a coffee maker, a small LED flashlight, a Christmas lily, a keychain, or a ballpoint pen. Keep it simple, but wrap it like other presents and place it under the tree.
Singing Christmas carols can be special if there are several Americans in the group who know the music to sing. Purchase a dozen inexpensive Christmas carol booklets for the group to use. If you teach two or three carols to the students, then you could go to several houses near you to carol the occupants (if that is appropriate in your neighborhood).
Christmas foods are always fun—cookies, eggnog, mull cider, hot chocolate—whatever is normal for your family and cultural background.
Follow up your visit with students with a note telling them that their presence in your home made the holidays so special and joyous for you and your friends/family!
May your personally reflecting upon the joy and peace Christ brings to us be the best gift you give yourself this Christmas!
Principles cited in this blog: Christmas is a wonderful time to deepen relationships by sharing ourselves with students.
Application for ISI ministry: If students show particular interest in the Christmas story, offer to discuss it more at a later date with anyone is interested.
Next blog topic: What’s next?
Doug Shaw with Derrah Jackson