Reaching Out to Others at Christmas

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Reaching Out to Others at Christmas

Although the hype of the holidays would like to convince us that it is “all about us”, Christmas provides many opportunities to reach out to others. And this may be one of a parent’s best defenses against whiny, selfish kids and teens. I believe that one of the ways we are made in God’s image is to love others and, when we do, we have a sense of well being and significance. People are also more open to receiving God’s love through us during the Christmas season. Whether they acknowledge God the rest of the year, they can’t deny His love for them during this time of year. Radio stations, grocery stores, even our malls proclaim God’s incarnate love at Christmastime. Some of our family’s fondest memories have been when we have been able to give to others during Christmas i.e. Feeding the hungry, food banks, singing at the nursing home, shopping for and delivering angel tree gifts. Here are a few ideas as you make Christ and others the center of this holiday season.

  1. Participate in a clothing/coat/blanket drive or have your own.
  2. Take cards and flowers to a nursing home or veteran’s hospital.
  3. Help your kids save and earn money for Toys for Tots or Angel Tree.
  4. Fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child.
  5. Choose a gift from the World Vision Gift Catalog.
  6. Sponsor a child through Food for the Hungry.
  7. Write a letter to a soldier.
  8. Sponsor a soldier’s family for the holidays.
  9. Clean out your closets, toy chest and cupboards for a food/clothing bank.
  10. Make any of the above the beginning of a way of life for you and your kids.

Christmas also provides many opportunities to reach out to your neighbors. When our kids were small, we loved having a cookie decorating party at our house. Kids from all over the neighborhood were invited. Jewish friends, teenagers, Moms with toddlers would all show up to make cookies and eat them and eventually go out to the back yard to play or sit around the kitchen table and visit. I have photos that I love to pull out and put on the refrigerator that chronicle those cookie parties. Now that the neighbor kids are all older, they find it hilarious to see themselves and their friends at that age elbow deep in frosting and sprinkles. We entertain a lot during the holidays and as our children grew up they loved it and looked forward to each event as if they were the honored guests. One of their favorite evenings was the children’s Christmas party. Each child was asked to come prepared to share a talent, be it a piano piece, a joke, a karate demonstration or anything else that they liked to do. After a meal geared to children, we always had a birthday cake for Jesus. It was a great way to include new friends and even entire families who may not have come to anything spiritual. Another tradition that I started the year we moved into our house was a holiday brunch for the ladies in our neighborhood. It was a great way for me to get to know my neighbors and also a way to establish an “open door” attitude toward our home. Everyone who has been lets anyone new in the neighborhood know that they will have a chance to meet all of the neighbor ladies at the annual holiday brunch. We have quite a few Jewish and unchurched neighbors and this has been a very gracious way to convey our convictions about the true meaning of the holidays. Now that I have been hosting this brunch for the past 15 years, former neighbors still come to catch up with their friends and some of us are bringing our grand daughters with us. Yes, it is a lot of work at a time that I don’t need more things to do, but it provides me with at least a few hours every year to focus in on each lady that God has put in my “Jerusalem”. (Acts 1:8) Have you had success at reaching out to others during Christmas?

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