Did you know that you don’t have to trek downtown into the inner city to scoop soup for the homeless to serve others this Christmas? I mean, that would be great. Totally do that if you want. But there are other ways, smaller ways, that are no less meaningful.
All of us strive to teach our children that Christmas is about more than presents for me – me – me. Jesus, whose birth we celebrate, served. And he told us to serve. Certainly we should be doing this all year long. But we would be remiss to ignore the fact that Christmastime is a season in which many people feel forgotten, lonely, and quite frankly…sad.
Serve in Your Local Community
You don’t have to drive downtown to find people to serve. Take a few minutes to answer this question:
Who in my community will have to work on Christmas?
Firemen, police, folks who work at gas stations and nursing homes…someone has to be there. Often workplaces that require staff on Christmas do their best to require the fewest employees have to come in. While that’s great for those that get to spend time with their family, it means that many times someone is working alone.
When my boys were young, we did something a few years that we still remember fondly. On Christmas eve, we took containers of cookies to a local fire station and police station. At the fire station, there was just one fireman on site. He was thrilled to have the visitors, and invited us in. He gave us a tour and let my boys climb on the trucks. We went to bless him, and he gave us memories we’ll always treasure.
Another year, we called a local nursing home to find out how many residents they had. My boys and their cousins made enough ornaments for each resident. We drove over and walked around, handing each person an ornament and telling them ‘Merry Christmas’ and visiting a little. Again, a positive experience for the kids, too, learning conversation skills and manners.
Other Small Ways to Serve
I’ve seen some creative ways that families are serving this Christmas. Maybe one will inspire you.
Jamie at Life is Sweeter By Design, writes about lots of ways you can help your local nursing home at Christmas. When I think about my mother or father being alone, not having anyone to visit them…it breaks my heart. These folks lived full lives, they are someone’s mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, maybe they served our country or saved lives in their job, or maybe they made people smile wherever they went. Now many are largely forgotten. Think about picking one thing from this list to bless your local nursing home with this Christmas.
At Inspired by Lucile, a post that you think is just going to be about delicious Christmas cookies turns into ways to serve locally. It’s a great list of places around your community that you might consider delivering some cookies to this season.
Amanda, over at Joyful Tots Learning, shows how to put together care packages for the NICU at your local hospital. Families with babies in the NICU are often travelling long distances, eating a lot of cafeteria and fast food, and sleeping in recliners or fold out beds. They often have large financial burdens on top of the emotional burden they are surely bearing.
Kris, from Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, shared 11 Ways to Serve Others This Christmas. Many of these are things that I hadn’t thought of and I’ll bet you haven’t, either!
I’d love to know some ways that your family has served over the years.
And remember, small gestures can carry big meaning. You don’t have to spend 10 hours in a soup kitchen, you can spend 10 minutes dropping off a plate of cookies.