With your help, ICCF is actively working towards vibrant communities in West Michigan. We are pursuing connected neighbors, housing justice, and abundant opportunity for all people.
This Advent season, we invite you to celebrate the gift of home with us using the calendar below. Together, we’ll explore what it looks like to prepare for Christmas in our homes and our hearts, celebrate the diversity of unique families in one community, and recognize the value of home as more than a physical building.
December 25: Peace
Being at home has a way of putting as at ease in a way that no other place can quite match. It’s that feeling of being able to unwind, completely relax, and to simply be yourself with those you love most. A home that is filled with peace is a wonderful gift, indeed!
Thank you for joining us on this Advent journey to uncover the gift of home. We wish you a peace-filled day with those you love!
December 24: Hospitality
Receiving guests into your home is one of the great joys of having a safe place to live. We all enjoy sharing a meal or housing a traveling friend in our homes. Hospitality communicates love and acceptance to those we welcome.
How has hospitality looked different during COVID-19? In what ways can we continue showing hospitality?
December 23: Hope
In a way, the image of presents waiting to be unwrapped is a picture of hope. We are often looking forward to things we don’t quite see yet. But we have faith that we’ll see a good thing. The gift of home is a safe and stable place where hope can blossom — for our children, for generational stability, for health and wholeness.
What do you hope for for yourself, your family, and your home? Would it be difficult to have hope without a home?
December 22: Neighbors
It might be easy to come up with a laundry list of “bad neighbor” qualities… But what does a good neighbor look like? We all have the power to affect our neighborhood for better or for worse. The gift of home comes with the gift of the surrounding community.
What does it mean to be a good neighbor to those around us?
December 21: The Gift of Friendship
These days, texting “I’m here” is more common than ringing the doorbell. But think about the thrill of joy that a visit from a friend can bring. We enjoy hosting our friends and getting the chance to visit their homes. The more close your relationship, likely the more comfortable you are at their house! Home becomes an extension of the friendship you share.
Do you feel comfortable in your best friend’s house? How does their home reflect what you love about their personality?
December 20: Decorating the Home
Having a place to call home means being able to show off your personality through decoration. Sometimes this looks like no decorations at all, which is totally okay! But oftentimes we enjoy putting our decor that reflects the people and things we love the most. A home is a place entirely your own that can reflect your personality.
If you could have any home decorations, what would they look like? What would they say about you to people who visit your home?
December 19: Playtime at Home
Sure, kids’ rooms are often messy. But with all those fun toys, how could things not get a little wild? No matter our age, we all enjoy having fun at home. Think about the games, books, and movies that you have enjoyed over and over again. Home is a place for play!
What sort of things do you enjoy doing for fun? How does your home become a place to play?
December 18: Stability
Having a consistent place to sleep, eat, recharge, and be with your family is a hallmark of a stable home. In a situation where a family is constantly forced to move, is in danger of losing their home, or lives in a dangerous house, there can be no stability. Whether you’ve lived in one place for a long time or are someone who enjoys moving frequently, think about the importance of having somewhere stable to return to.
What would it feel like to move frequently out of financial necessity or fear? How does a stable home contribute to your overall health?
December 17: Raising Children
One of the greatest gifts of home is the way it provides a place to raise up the next generation. Whether you have kids at home or not, a safe home is a place where young hearts and minds can thrive. Home provides a place for children to try new things, and always provides a safe place to return.
Think about the house where you grew up — how did it shape you?
December 16: Conversation
Cozy coffee shops with couches and hot drinks are favorite meeting spots. Could it be that’s because they remind us of home? For deep conversations or catching up with someone we love, a home environment is best. Without a safe place to call home, or with the constant threat of your home being taken away, conversation suffers. It is truly a gift to have a welcoming place to talk with the people you love.
How are your conversations inside your home different than ones outside? What would happen if having conversations at home wasn’t an option?
December 15: Family Traditions
Your home is a place where all of your upbringing comes into play. Whether you’re aware of it or not, the way you treat your home, the things you fill it with, and even its location all reflect in some way the family you came from. Home is also a place where family traditions are practiced and handed down. The Advent season is a perfect time to see these traditions on full display!
What family traditions do you have for the Advent season in particular? What about at other times of year?
December 14: Small Moments of Joy
Home should be a welcoming and happy environment. Small moments of joy — like sharing a fresh cookie with someone you love — are abundant. As we interact with others or decorate the walls with a photo from a wonderful memory, the home becames a place where little miracles happen every day.
Have you witnessed any small moments of joy in your home recently?
December 13: Sharing Meals
Home is a place to eat! Whether you do a frozen meal, homemade from scratch, or something in between, sharing food is one of the under-appreciated characteristics of having a safe place to call home. It is an act of love to prepare a meal and share it with someone in your home.
What do meals normally look like at your house? How does mealtime connect you to those with whom you share a meal?
December 12: Rest
Do you have a favorite chair in your home to sit and rest? Perhaps it’s by a window, or safe in your room, or at the kitchen table. We often take these comforting places for granted, but having a safe place to rest is a wonderful gift. “Putting your feet up” is a way that we unwind after a busy day, engage in conversation with those we love, or take up a book or project at our leisure. To be at home is to be at rest.
What’s your favorite spot to “rest” at home? Why do you feel so comfortable there, and how would you feel if it were taken away?
December 11: Community
Home is a place for community. Whether it’s just a couple people or a whole houseful, our housemates, family members, and neighbors make up our community. When people are united by a shared space at home, there’s a special connection. May our homes be places where all people are welcomed into community.
Who is in your “community,” both inside and outside your home? How does where you live affect who is in your community?
December 10: Hobbies to Enjoy
Whether it’s a game of football on the TV, a pair of skates by the front door, painting supplies in the attic, or perhaps a set of baking trays in the kitchen, our homes reflect our hobbies. The things we enjoy doing in our free time are often rooted in our homes. When worries about housing are removed, families have more time to focus on the activities they love.
What hobbies fill your life with joy, and how does your home reflect them?
December 9: The Great Outdoors
Even for houses without a large yard, “home” is still a place to enjoy the great outdoors… and then it provides a safe, warm, dry place to come back inside. Houses provide a retreat after outside excursions, perhaps to build a snowman on a wintry day.
Do you live in the city or the country? How does that influence what “home” means to you?
December 8: Safety
This little kitten is a picture of “safety.” She’s well taken care of and she’s happily at rest. For children in families without stable housing, this feeling of safety is hard to grasp. Even at a young age, children recognize the anxiety and frustration that comes with parents who are struggling to afford housing. With a hot housing market and rising rent costs, many families who previously had a safe place to live are finding themselves without a place to turn.
In what ways does your home make you feel safe? What would happen if your house was no longer an option?
December 7: Warmth
Your house may not have a literal chimney, but the smoke from a fire is usually a heartwarming sight. It communicates safety, peace, rest, and comfort. The warmth of home is a gift that families without a stable or safe place to call home are not able to experience. With an unsafe, unstable, or unlovely house, that feeling of “warmth” is missing.
What characterisitcs of your home communicate “warmth”?
December 6: Belonging
Do you have a stocking on the fireplace? Maybe it’s not a literal stocking and fireplace in your house, but there’s likely something that shows you belong there. Think of the number of chairs at your table, the coathooks by the door, or the boxes in the attic with your name. Home is a place where you know you belong, and there are signs all around.
What items in your home show that you belong there?
December 5: A Place for Transition
Stairs represent a physical transition from one floor of a home to another. Think about the different transitions you have experienced in your life — perhaps the birth of a child, taking a new job, or graduating from school. Home provides a safe place to experience life’s transitions.
What would it feel like to go through a difficult transition without a stable home to return to?
December 4: Generosity
Home is a place to be generous with those we love. We might exchange physical gifts in our homes around a holiday, but all year long we must be generous with our time, resources, attention, and care to those who share our home. For families without a safe place to call home, it is the generosity of their community that helps them get on their feet again.
What’s one way you’ve practiced generosity within your home this season?
December 3: Celebration
One of the best things we do in our homes is celebrate. Whether it’s a birthday, holiday, or a party, everyone loves a celebration! A stable home is a place where you can celebrate all of life’s occasions, big and small.
What’s the last occasion you celebrated? How did your home reflect that?
December 2: Responsibility
Part of growing up means taking on chores. Sometimes there’s a lot of housekeeping on the to-do list, but being able to take responsibility for yourself, your family, and your home is really a gift. A stable home creates space for people to enjoy the responsibilities they have.
What responsibilities are given to each member of your house? What would happen if these responsibilities were neglected?
December 1: Ownership
Home provides a place to hang your hat—or in this case, to hang up your winter pajamas! Having a stable place to live enables families to take ownership of their belongings and their space. It creates a safe environment for families of all sizes to store items, enjoy favorite belongings, and take pride in their environment.