5. Reach out to your relatives. Yes, those strangers who are watching television the whole family get together while puffing away on their cigarettes. Teach your children to go to family get togethers to serve—not to judge. Start out teaching your children about this concept of serving relatives with a Bible study (ahead of time) on “being great in God’s kingdom by serving” and “doing for others asking nothing in return” and “being a light by your good works.” Then, if it is true, tell your children that you have been more concerned about yourself than you have of others at past family get togethers. And that you want your entire family to change all of that. That you want to “do your good works that others would glorify your father in heaven.” Discuss ways that you can do this during this holiday season: working harder to make good dishes to the gatherings (no lentil casserole, please—bless these people with fat and sugar!); helping with young cousins; encouraging grandparents; helping to set up and take down; being kind to each other as an example of family unity to those who might not have any idea what that looks like. (Note: Because I always get asked this, I will put a caveat here—I am not talking about reaching out to relatives in any way that would put your children in danger. We recommend that your children never be left with non-Christians and never be put in situations in which they could be harmed.)
6. Really talk to others this holiday season. Your ministry of bringing your relatives to Christ will begin not with your family’s judgment of them, but with your interest and concern for their lives in general. Jeff Myers, leadership specialist and founder of Passing the Baton, gives the following list of things to discuss this year with relatives young and old. Some are one-on-one types of discussions while others would work well for group discussions**:
Express thanks to someone in the room for something they did for you.
"I'm thankful for..." Finish the sentence.
If you could have the attention of the whole world for 30 seconds, what would you say?
One thing I'm thankful for about our country.
What is the key to success in life? Why do you say that?
Tell about a lesson you learned the hard way.
What are some ways life is different now than in the old days?
Tell a story of a decision your ancestors made that changed the direction of their lives-and yours.
Tell about a lesson you learned by watching someone else.
"A person I would like to honor publicly is..."
"Time and money aside, I would rather be..."
Tell about an experience that changed you for the better.
Tell a story about something that started out bad but had a happy ending.
"My first hero was _________."
Tell about a time when you showed courage.
Describe a teacher who had a significant influence on your life.
Tell about an invention that made your life easier.
"The most admired public figure when I was growing up was ____." Tell a story.
Tell about a memorable event in your life.
"A famous person I've met is _____." Tell about the experience.
"I got in so much trouble..." Tell the story!
*Copyright TFT 2008
**Note: These are good to print off and use as dinner discussion for your immediate family, too!