Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I realize I’m inviting judgement by admitting this, but I live in the north, and I love snow! Also, for the sake of full disclosure, Christmas music season begins November 1 in my house. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is more offensive. On top of both of these, I actually watched a Christmas movie before Thanksgiving this year. I hope the Christmas Police don’t read this and arrest me.
As a part of the holiday season I have always tried to do something fun and meaningful with my small group guys. We have had some great Christmas gatherings. We have also had some interesting ones. One year my wife and I had our 8th grade groups over and did a White Elephant party. A few months later we discovered that our students had created their own game called: “Hide All the White Elephant Presents All Over Our Leaders’ Apartment”. We found the last white elephant gift when we moved out three years later.
Another year I was working on a service project with my guys. As a part of the event I decided to read the Christmas story from Matthew 1 and 2 with my guys. We were just finishing the genealogy of Jesus when my roommate’s piranha ate through the bag holding the feeder fish in it’s tank and had a feast. I know most people believe piranhas amplify Bible study. It turns out that is an urban myth.
Having gone through a few holiday seasons as a student small group leader, there are a few things I have realized:
- Life gets messy. The stress of the holiday season often blows open cracks in our students’ lives and families. While these weeks are fun and joyous for many students, others are left feeling alone, confused, and discouraged. To complicate things further, these are often weeks when we are not around for them as much as normal.
- Students want your time. The holidays are a time when many of us check out of normal life. We need a break too, but sometimes we don’t realize the importance of our regular interaction are with our students. As a leader I have learned to give myself a break from my guys, but I have also learned that they need me to remember them. They need to hear from me. Your students need to hear from you, too.
Please take time to rest over the next few weeks, but also make some time to text, communicate over social media, call (does anybody do that anymore?), or even play video games together online with your students. If nothing else grab a box of Christmas cards and mail them out. You never know when they may need you to be a listening ear, encourage them, or help them wrestle through something.
Please don’t underestimate how important you are to your students. They need you!