What organizations have you partnered with in the past in your community or across the globe to provide tangible help to others? What did you learn from them, and how can you incorporate that into your everyday life?
As we remember Christ at Christmas, we can’t help but remember that He came to seek and save the lost. He had compassion on the poor, suffering, and discouraged. To celebrate His birth, we can take time out of our busy schedule to remember others with needs. Some of my favorite memories of serving at Christmas have included:
Bringing Thanksgiving meals to families we identified through the county that might not be able to purchase a meal. Together we packed each meal including a turkey and desserts as well as the well-known side dishes. We included our children in this process as they are great at sorting, stacking, and packing. We then went to deliver to each family in groups. My children got to see up close that many are struggling right in our own backyard and we should be as concerned about their Thanksgiving meal as we are with our own.
Operation Christmas Child provides a great opportunity to pack boxes for children across the globe. Shopping with my children and filling the boxes together brought us much joy as we thought about the child who might open it.
At one time our small group volunteered during Christmas to go count the money that was brought in from bell ringing for the Salvation Army. We spent hours straightening out dollars and rolling quarters and had a fun time visiting together as we served.
Our community has an organization called Welcome Warehouse that serves underprivileged families in our community. My middle school group at church would adopt a family through their program. Each student would bring $10-$20 dollars and we would combine all our money and head out to shop together. The organization provided the ages of the children and some of their Christmas wishes. We enjoyed picking out things together and then coming back to someone’s home to wrap the gifts.
These are a few holiday serving memories that stick out in my mind. What I learned from these times together was that I usually dread serving. I often felt tired or overwhelmed going into each of these activities and may have brainstormed ways to get out of them in the hours before going. (Just being honest here.) But once I got there and started serving, I felt energized. God created us to serve and knows that it brings us as much joy as those we are blessing. I’ve heard it said that we are most like Jesus when we are serving. What a great way to celebrate His birthday by choosing to serve like He did.