We want your neighbors to know that “GOD WITH US” isn’t just something that Christians put on their Christmas cards—it’s a reality that they can experience because the people of God live among them. Jesus chose to put on flesh and live on earth— God with us. We put together twelve opportunities to help you experience the life of Christ at work in you this Christmas by being a neighbor. Our hope is that you would be encouraged by the example of the life Jesus lived among those who were His neighbors and follow in His steps.
Consider this a Neighboring DIY: use these ideas to get to know people and share the hope you have in Jesus! A day at a time, meditate on the simple examples of how Jesus was a neighbor. Then, do something! Be courageous. Knock on a door, send a text, whatever it takes to initiate with your neighbor.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
YOUR TURN: It would be an understatement to say that Jesus went out of His way to love others. Consider who God has placed around you. Introduce yourself to neighbors you don’t know. Use that initial conversation to let them know they are important to you, and you’re glad they live near to you.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
YOUR TURN: Ask neighbors how they’ve been affected by this past year. Ask if you can be helpful to them during this season. Is there a way you can respond in compassion to meet a need they shared?
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)
YOUR TURN: Find a meaningful way to serve one of your neighbors. Offer to help hang their Christmas lights, bring them a meal, babysit their kids, or meet other needs you may already know about.
Below is a small list of ideas to help you to think creatively about serving your neighbors:
“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’” (John 5:6)
YOUR TURN: Get to know your neighbors by being curious. The more we ask questions like Jesus did, the more we will learn about the spiritual state of our neighbors: “What are your Christmas traditions?” “Do you have a faith?” “What do you believe about Jesus and Christmas?”
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.” (Matthew 19:13)
YOUR TURN: Jesus was personally present for His ministry of prayer. He stopped and prayed in the moment. As you get to know your neighbors better through questions and service, be bold. Pray with them right then, right there.
“And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’” (Matthew 9:10-11)
YOUR TURN: Invite your neighbors over for dinner. You could invite multiple families, or just one specific neighbor. Sharing food is a simple way to build relationships, pray together over the food, and ask if they have a faith.
“And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’” (Mark 10:46-49a)
YOUR TURN: Jesus was interruptible and willing to be inconvenienced. We have multiple examples of Jesus pivoting His plans in order to minister to others. Are there neighbors who you haven’t engaged with because of your pace of life? Go out of your way to talk to them today.
__Extra Resources: __
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:46-47)
YOUR TURN: In Luke 7, Jesus dines with the Pharisees. In Luke 19, He eats with Zaccheus. Jesus didn’t agree with the religious convictions of the Pharisees or with a tax collector’s lifestyle, but that didn’t stop Him from pursuing them or enjoying their company! Be intentional to interact with neighbors who are different than you.
__Extra Resources: __
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” (Matthew 9:35)
YOUR TURN: Jesus said He was sent for the very purpose of sharing about the Kingdom of God (Luke 4:42-43). Why do you think God has placed you on your street? Share with a neighbor about how the Good News has transformed your life.
__Extra Resources: __
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
YOUR TURN: Scripture says that Jesus became poor for our sake, so that through His poverty, we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). God sacrificed His only Son on the cross for us in order to save us, to bring us into new life with Him. Is your life mostly comfortable? How can you reflect Christ to your neighbors by how you sacrifice for them?
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
YOUR TURN: Jesus reminded His disciples that hope comes from trusting in Him and His triumph over all brokenness and darkness. Remind a Christian neighbor of the hope we have in Christ. Write an edifying note, bake them one of your favorite treats, or think through other ways you could uniquely encourage them.
“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, ‘What are you seeking?’ And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ (which means Teacher), ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’” (John 1:38-39)
YOUR TURN: Jesus constantly invited people to come and see. Give this Christmas Eve invite card to your neighbor, or extend a simple invitation, “My church is having is having a Christmas Eve service. Would you be interested in coming?”