The Fall season and its holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving, offer us many opportunities to live as a “beautiful resistance” in our city. The following are suggestions for engaging the Fall season with both communal and missional intentionality. We recognize that we should engage these holidays with thoughtfulness and discernment and that each family may choose to participate (or not participate) in different ways. This is meant to encourage conversations with your family, your missional community, and especially the Spirit on how He may want us to take advantage of the opportunities this season gives us.
With your family, missional community, friends, or any combination thereof:
- Visit a farm.
- Host a pumpkin carving party.
- “Boo” your neighbors and friends by leaving a surprise package of goodies at their door.
- Pray beforehand that the Spirit would help you listen to, care for, and serve those around you. Ask for boldness to connect with people. Ask for open doors to new relationships and gospel conversations.
- Pray in the moment. If you’re out trick-or-treating, consider it a prayer walk of sorts. If you’re at home handing out candy, pray that the Spirit would give you words and guide your interactions.
- Pray at the end of the night for the people you connected with. Start thinking right away, “How can I connect with these people again soon? Yes, to be a good missionary, but also just to be a good neighbor.”
Stay at Your Place
- Give out the best candy. Put yourself in the kids’ shoes!
- Visit every house on your block. Halloween gives you the green light to connect with anyone with a porch light on. Introduce yourself. Consider writing down their names as you walk to the next house.
- Think of the parents. Consider offering some water bottles, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, pumpkin bread, etc. to the parents who are walking their kids around.
- Be encouraging. Tell the kids you love their costumes and to have a great night. Practice building others up with words.
- Party. If you’re really into it, you may want to throw a pre-trick-or-treating party. Provide dinner and drinks. Then, send the dads out trick-or-treating with the kids while the moms stay to hand out candy. Reconvene later to examine all the loot.
- Learn the stories. Whether you’re out trick-or-treating with the kids or staying back with other parents, ask questions and get to know people’s stories. Pay attention to their hearts and their felt needs. Look for opportunities to serve them later.
- Get creative. Think outside the box and consider ways to use your missional community’s gifts and interests to bless your neighbors. Is someone a photographer? Consider setting up a photobooth in your yard or garage. Take photos of groups who are trick-or-treating together, collect names and email addresses, and send them the photos later.
Go to Their Place
- Attend the party. If others are throwing parties, you may want to join them. If so, bring drinks, food, or whatever is needed. If you’re able, offer to help clean up afterward.
- Join the community. If your community has key events, join them and invite some neighbors to go with you (then get to know their stories along the way).
- Write down and share what you’re thankful for. Do this as a family and as a missional community. How has God shown you grace throughout the year? You could even make this a year-round activity. At regular intervals, invite your family to write down things they’re grateful for on slips of paper (or other objects), and collect them all in a jar.
- Not just the good things. Because we trust a good Author, we can also thank Him for hard things. Reflect on the times when things didn’t go according to your plan, but God brought you through it and showed you why His plan was better.
- Gift or Giver? Ask the Spirit to show you where you are more thankful for the gift than for the Giver.
- Help people who need help. Call a local food bank or shelter and ask what they actually need.
- Pray about your guest list. Who might be lonely or overwhelmed at Thanksgiving this year? Pray about whom you could invite to your table. Or think about how you can be a helpful, gracious guest at someone else’s table!
- Cook together. Are there portions of your Thanksgiving meal that you could cook with friends?
- Cook extra to share. Would it bless any of your neighbors or friends if you brought them a pie or some other dish?
- Go around the table. At the meal, invite everyone to name one thing, one person, and one place for which they are thankful.
- Recipe swap night. When you swap recipes, or share favorite dishes, it automatically builds an environment for story-telling at the party. People are proud of their recipes, or they have some sort of sentimental meaning to them. And they usually love to tell others about their memories of the dish.
- Be active together. Connect with family and friends at a local 5K.
- Prepare to pray. If you suspect you might be the person leading the Thanksgiving prayer, give it some forethought. Use simple language that points people to the source of all blessing.
This was created and generously shared with us by the community of Soma Tacoma.