by Sidney Merriweather
Well, it’s FINALLY Christmas season! I know it seems like that already started in November, but let’s be honest, the fullness of the holiday spirit comes in full-force when we cross December 1st. Something else that comes with the holiday season is this drive that everyone has to be generous.
Whether it’s #givingTuesday, canned food drives, Operation Christmas Child, or any other number of charitable causes that seem to explode during this season we, as a society, are in full giving mode.
I love it!
To see people, no matter their race, gender, religion or nationality, put aside their differences for the sake of those the less fortunate makes my heart full.
If you want to give but you don’t know how, or who to give to, or what to give let me help. Here’s a list of 6 easy ways you or your family can join the world in the most generous season of the year:
1. Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child allows families throughout the world to pack shoeboxes full of small gifts, school supplies, and hygiene products that will be passed out to these children in impoverished countries. Click the link to find out how you can be involved: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
2. Random Acts of Kindness
This holiday season, I challenge you to think creatively and bless needs as you see them throughout your day. Pay for the Starbucks order for the person in the car behind you. Give up your spot in line for the mom with a small child who’s losing patience. Take your neighbors those fun Christmas candies you love to bake. Just bless those around you.
3. Treat Bags/Gift Cards
I see the same FedEx worker at least 3 times a week at my office, and my Amazon orders are just starting to arrive at my house. Think about those people in your life and keep small $5 gift cards or treat bags handy so that you can thank them for all they do during their busiest season of the year.
4. Angel Tree
Angel Tree gives children with incarcerated parents the opportunity to feel loved during the Christmas season. You and your family can fulfill a child’s Christmas wish list this season. Click on this link to find out more: https://www.prisonfellowship.org/about/angel-tree/
Whether it’s one hour, one day, or just donating, find a non-profit in your community and get involved. Sort canned goods at a food bank, donate clothes to a homeless shelter, or even play with animals as a rescue center. Non-profits are the busiest during this season of generosity and need extra hands to accomplish their missions.
6. Nursing Home Visits
Go with your family or group of friends and visit local nursing homes. The residents at these facilities might not get to see their own families during the holidays, and being in these places can feel so lonely. We all have the gift of time and I encourage you to spend some of yours listening to and loving on residents in nursing homes.
My generosity challenge to you this season doesn’t come from my own “goodness,” but is an out pouring of the generosity that Christ has shown not just me but the world.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-8