Going home for the holidays can be a great season for our students. It can also be awkward. Students who’ve been free to come and go as they please are force to succumb to curfews and the onslaught of parental questions like “where are you going?” or “who’s going to be there?” It can be a real challenge to transition from living on your own to living back under your parents’ roof. Not only do students have to readjust to life at home, they also must navigate being a different person spiritually than they were when they left. Think about it. What have you see God on your campus this semester? Students have come to saving faith in Christ. Students have been rescued from sin and addictions. Students are learning to forgive and letting go of bitterness. Many students have come from nonbelieving families and friends and are returning to those situations where college was the escape out of it. With God doing so many wonderful things in our students lives and our students headed back into so many different situations how do we equip our students to be home for the holidays?
Return home and tell of how much God has done for you.
In Luke 8:26-39 we see a beautiful picture of the call on our students lives this holiday break. Jesus comes upon a man possessed by demons, many demons; so many demons that they collectively assume the name Legion. Jesus casts them out into a herd of pigs, the pic herders freak out and run and tell the town, the townspeople come and see the demoniac in his right mind, with clothes on, and they get nervous and ask Jesus to leaves. Here is where the story gets really run. Jesus leaves. As he is leaving the man begs Jesus to take him with him and Jesus gives him this command: “Return home and tell of how much God has done for you.” Surely this is the calling for our students. God has done so much this semester in the lives of our students. They are returning home differently from which they left. Tell of how much God has done. We need to equip our students and help them process and articulate what God has done in their lives this past semester.
Honor your father and mother.
Jesus said that even a prophet is without honor in his hometown. We all know this to be true. Our hometown friends and families have seen us at our worst. Nothing smacks of superficial religiosity more to unbelieving families and friends than a student who comes home professing Jesus as Lord and dishonors their parents by fighting about curfew, constant questions, politics, and submitting to authority. We must be diligent in helping out students see home for the break as a way to serve and show Christ’s love to their parents, hometown friends, and siblings. If our students will live out a Philippians 2:4 kind of selfless service we will see a tremendous impact not only on our students, but their families. How are we helping our students see that how they treat their parents and siblings is a direct representation of Christ in their life?
You will be my witness.
This Christmas we are sending all of our students home with an ornament that says, “you will be my witness” taken from Acts 1:8. It’s true that some of our students are going on “mission trips” this Christmas, but all of our students are on mission regardless of destination. Home is a mission field. It’s Jerusalem. The place where there is no language barrier; the place of inside jokes, similar culture, and shared experiences. Some of our students are headed back to friends that need to hear the gospel. Do they see it as a break or do they see it as a mission? Many of our students are headed home to unbelieving parents and siblings. Are our students equipped to share the gospel with their parents and siblings? Are our students prepared to be long suffering in prayer on behalf of their family? Some students may be headed home to strong Christian families and we praise God for that heritage. How can they be a part of discipling younger siblings on what following Christ looks after leaving home? How can they be a part of passing on what they’ve learned.
God has entrusted us with workers for the harvest field on our campus. God, in his graciousness, has sent us students from so many walks of life and so many different places. How can we be a part of seeing not only our campuses and our students reached with gospel, but also the families they represent. If we can empower our students for the break ahead they can return home and tell how much God has done for them. They will bear witness to God’s greatness