One of my favorite traditions for the last 15 years has been the Friends' Brunch. Having been in a Bible study that had fellowships which encouraged sharing what we had learned and how we had been changed by studying God's Word together, I was struck by the richness of fellowship with women that I didn't even know that well. I thought what a blessing it would be to have that kind of sharing with friends with whom I had a history, but didn't get to see as often during the year. That began the tradition of gathering friends (new and old) for a brunch in the weeks before Christmas to focus on Christ.
At the brunch, everyone has an opportunity to share specifically a lesson the Lord has taught them over the past year. After we eat, there is a spiritual prompt for sharing, such as,
*What has God taught you about Himself this year?
*What atribute of God has been most precious to you this year and why?
*How had He encouraged you through His Word?
Each year, it is an encouragement to hear ones so dear share of God's sovereignty and faithfulness in joys and in sorrows.
In the first years I cooked all of the food, used the fine china and silver... but now many bring a dish to share. The sharing time is more important than the food---but the food is always good! Who doesn't love a brunch?!
Each year I pray for some visual reminder that each woman attending can take home with her -- sometimes it's a verse on a pretty card or bookmark. One year we made attribute ornaments together. One of the first years we each wrote down on a piece of paper what we were giving to Jesus for His birthday that year. Each of us had a small box and we used those scraps of wrapping paper (that never fit anything you wrap, but you still don't' want to throw them away) to wrap our gift to Jesus to put under the tree or in a place that it would be seen to serve as a reminder that we are celebrating Jesus. Each year God is faithful to bring to mind some little goodie that points us all to Jesus to share with each of those who come.
As we focus on Him, we are all encouraged.