It’s officially Autumn. Which means it’s the time of year when many of us start looking ahead to all the holidays that are coming up. Some of us are excited about that. Others, not so much. But wherever you fall in that spectrum, it’s a great time of year to remind ourselves about the opportunities that the holidays provide for us to connect with others.
God has asked us to do two things – to love Him and to love others. But in order to love others, we need to spend time with them and get to know them. Think about all the people in your life that you “kinda” know, but not really. It might be neighbors or classmates, or co-workers. Or it could be people in your Zumba class or a barista at your favorite coffee place. If you’re like me, there are a lot of them.
With the pace of life as crazy as it is, it’s way too easy for us to be so busy that weeks and months and even years can go by without ever spending significant time simply hanging out with others so we can get to know them and share our lives with them. We find time for our close friends and family, but all those other people around the edges of our lives are on their own. The holidays provide a lot of opportunities for us to intentionally do something about that problem.
Holidays are a natural time for people to get together and to want to do something special. So it’s an easy opportunity to connect in some way with others. It could be as simple as taking a plate of homemade cookies to your neighbors and chatting with them on the porch for a few minutes. Or hanging out in the front yard on Halloween with a fire pit and all the fixings for s’mores. Or inviting some co-workers to go out with you for a holiday lunch.
And if you’re up for it, invite people into your home. My daughter-in-law put a sign up in their dining room that says “A shared table is a shared life.” I love that! And it’s so true. It can be simple snacks & drinks or a fancy dinner party. It can be for adults only, for neighborhood children, or for families. Whatever works for you. Simply use it as an opportunity for you to get to know them, to have fun together, and to show them the love and care that Jesus would if He were you.
So as the leaves begin to change colors and the air gets cooler, think about those around you that you can connect with during the upcoming holidays. And intentionally come up with some ways – that work for you – to get to know them so you can share your life and God’s love with them.
by Bernice Gudgel