God is moving people around the world, determining when and where they live, so that they might be primed to seek Him (Acts 17:26-27). Have you noticed internationals in your neighborhood? Are you building bridges of friendship?
The holidays are a great time to build those bridges and share the story of Christ, which some have never heard. It can be a lonely time for those far from home. Here are some suggestions for the upcoming Christmas holidays:
- Share a gift of food, perhaps one of your family’s traditional recipes. Include a card with your address and phone number, in case they should need any help or information.
- Open your church building to immigrants who would like to host a holiday party but need a place to meet. Offer to help.
- Invite your new friends to attend a Christmas concert or church event with you; then invite them back to your home for dessert and discussion. Ask if they have any questions about the message they have heard. Share the Christmas story from the Bible and explain that this is the real reason for Christmas.
- Plan an international Christmas event, such as a dinner or brunch. Use decorations from around the world, serve international foods and encourage the guests to wear national dress. Include testimonies and a simple Christmas message. Provide translators, if needed.
- Adopt an international student or family during their stay in your community, offering to be their “family away from home.” For refugee families, this might mean helping provide everything from household items and winter clothing to transportation, or offering assistance in contacting schools, doctors and utility companies.
- Plan a Christmas party for immigrant children, with a visualized story, games, and a snack.
- And don’t forget other holidays as natural times for building relationships. Check with the international student department at local colleges for students who would like to be invited to a home for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter dinner but are stuck in the dorms. Share the history of the holiday and what your family is thankful for; include personal testimonies of how you came to know Christ as Savior. Ask questions about their country and culture, too, and if they have a similar holiday.