Advent is just around the corner and that means Christmas is on the mind. I'm particularly thinking about how we, as deacon teams, can best share the joy of this season with those in our congregations and communities. I think it would be a good idea to share some of our deacon best practices for during the holiday time. What have you done as a deacon team to spread the love over Christmas? How have you navigated difficult situations where Christmas is a time of grief and sorrow? What are some of your ideas for this season?
Christmas Initiatives - What Does Your Church Do?
Historically in our congregation, Christmastime has meant visiting the seniors in our midst and bringing a small gift. The past two years we've done that, but with a twist. A couple of years ago our deacon team lost a couple of deacons, and the list of seniors to visit was too long for the team to complete. As we were talking about it an idea formed - why not get help from the congregation to complete the visits? Fleshing out this idea we decided to invite the 20-something-year-olds to visit the seniors. We offered to provide gifts for them to bring (though they were welcome to choose their own) and they offered their time. In part, this initiative was also seeking to connect these two age groups, as the younger folk would always say that they didn't know the older ones, and the older folk would say that there couldn't keep track of the younger ones. And both groups had this strange fear like approach, where they wouldn't bridge that gap. It's not that they didn't want to, per se, it was just... awkward.
The venture was a success - mostly. Those who went on the visits said they had a great time, and were thankful for the opportunity to go. New connections were made, and genuine friendships forged. There were two issues that we discovered. One was the "best intentions" issue... where people would volunteer to go visit, but then run out of time and not be able to visit the person. The second was the "senior fear"... which was when a senior person didn't recognize the person who was trying to call to set up the visit, and thus, didn't want the person to visit. Both these scenarios required some navigating, yet the overall response was so positive that we've kept on with this tradition.
So, that's my story to share - what's yours?