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Supporting Young Adults Through the Holidays

by Thea Mateu

Thea Mateu GiraffeOur congregations can play an important role in what, for some people, can be a difficult time of year. All you have to do is walk into a grocery store in November to realize that the holidays are upon us—and they come sooner and sooner every year! While for many people it is a time of joy and celebration for many others it is a lonely time.   Young adulthood can be a transition for many people when it comes to holidays and traditions.  This is especially the case for folks who live far away from their families or who are estranged from them.  If you live far from family, Thanksgiving can be a bit daunting.  And, if you are rejected by your family, Christmas can be quite challenging.  As churches, we often use the language of ‘family:’ this can be a great time to reach out and put that into practice.

A few simple strategies can make a world of difference in people’s lives—regardless of their age!

Reach out! This is the major call to our churches—evangelize!—and an important practice for congregational vitality.  And yet we sometimes lose sight of how important this is. It can make a huge difference! 

Host a church harvest day feast, this can even be a form of resistance given the less savory historical associations of Thanksgiving day from a Native American perspective.  

Ask people if they have a place to go on big meal holidays and consider setting an extra place at the table.  Encourage connection and provide concrete ways for it to happen in ways that address the strengths of the community.
Consider college students who are far from home and who may not always have the financial resources to go home for celebrations and might appreciate some support from the church.

If your church participates in a food pantry or soup kitchen, serving can be a great way to brighten the holiday blues. 

For young families, the holidays can be a time of establishing new traditions.  Make sure you are including them in the life of the community as well!

Does your church have a special tradition that serves young adults?  Are you known in the community for your Christmas events? Do you have a story that really speaks to the joys and challenges of the holidays as a young adult? Join the conversation in comments or at the Southern California Nevada Young Adult Ministries Facebook group!

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