The church season of Advent is focused on waiting and preparing. A lot of the preparing tends to focus on getting ready for Christmas. Is the house ready? Are all the presents bought? Is the church ready for Christmas Eve?
Often those who are homebound are forgotten.
The homebound are those who are not able to get out and about on their own. They may live at home alone, or live in an assisted living facility. Many of their days are filled with loneliness. This is especially true during the holidays.
Here are three ideas for sharing Christmas with the homebound that you could do with children, youth, and/or adult groups.
Christmas Card Party
Gather a bunch of Christmas cards and a bunch of adults, youth, and children for a Christmas Card party. Provide the group with a list of names and addresses of the homebound in your congregation. The list should also include a few “insider details” about the homebound friend. For example, what they are remembered for in the church, what some of their hobbies or interested are, etc. When writing the cards, encourage more than just a “Merry Christmas.” Give guidance about using the “insider details” to write a personal message. The goal is to send as many cards to the homebound friends as possible to let them know they are being thought of. Have fun with it.
I used to do this with children. I would go to the Dollar Tree and get a Christmas stocking for each of the homebound friends and then collected items to go in the stockings. For example, socks, blank note cards, stamps, crossword puzzle books, pencils/pens, snacks, etc. The children would each get a stocking and fill it with the items. And the children would make their own Christmas cards or artwork to be included in the stocking. Then, we would deliver the stockings to homebound friends. I have done this where the youth group delivered stockings while Christmas caroling.
Children and youth enjoy this as much, if not more than adults. Get a group together and head out to visit the homebound friends at their homes. It was rare when I took a youth group out on a chilly December evening that we would be stuck outside. Many times we were invited into their homes. But also consider the nursing homes or assisted living facilities where church’s homebound friends are living. Or, one that is close to the church where relationship building could happen.
These are just a few ideas. What are some of yours?