Even if most or all of your students are gone, I had a thought for a little exhortation you might make as Christmas approaches. (You can still contact your students by email, remember. It’s allowed.)
I realize there are plenty of “big,” radical ways we can encourage students to let Christ reign during Christmas. (And for a list of challenges for the entire Winter Break, check this out! I was encouraged to hear that a local college ministry passed out these ideas and a few more to all their students last week!)
Yes, there are big-sized ways to serve and impact and grow and sacrifice during Christmas. But what about this idea: Have you challenged your students on how they might let Christ “impose” even on the gift portion of their Christmases?
Assuming most of your students aren’t foregoing all their presents altogether, it seems like challenging them to look through spiritual eyes at what they get for Christmas is great spiritual practice. They’ve got three chances to put Jesus square in the middle of the gifting:
- What they put on their Christmas wish lists
- How they spend their Christmas money
How many of your students are likely to ask for / use their Christmas money for a Christian book that would be well worth reading? What about a new Study Bible or Bible Commentary? What about a video game they know will help develop relationships with their dorm-mates? Or a film they know will help inspire them spiritually (whether it’s a Christian movie or not)? Will they buy iPhone apps that help them be better students? Will they ask their parents for Wal-mart gift cards so they can not spend so much on fast food?
More importantly, did they at any point pray for God’s wisdom in what they asked for? And will they pray for God’s wisdom in how they spend their Christmas money?
Are we raising up students who “in all their ways acknowledge Him”?
My list of examples surely don’t cover all the possibilities of Jesus-directed gifting. The great thing is, a little prayer and a little thought can help students realize how they can purposely grow, serve, and live best in the New Year. And while – again – I recognize it may seem holier just to focus on “Christian service” or “Christian witnessing,” Jesus probably wants to be Lord even of our Christmas lists. And if our students practice that Lordship here, who knows where they might let Him impose next?
Why don’t you write ’em with this idea? (And if you have some specific suggestions on stuff worth buying – including book titles and other things you’d recommend – you might want to throw those in there!)