During this Christmas season my pastor, Pastor Charlie Whitlow, has challenged our church to “Be Christmas.” Instead of being caught up in the buying, selling, craziness that Christmas has become, to actually remember why we celebrate it. After all, it's better to give then receive!
When you think of giving during these months you might think of the countless charities calling your house, the bell ringers, and telethons on tv. I'm not saying these aren't legit ways to give, in fact they can be huge blessings for the people involved. But if you are like me you might not have a lot of extra money to give away. We live on one income which can be a challenge during regular months. Add on the extras you want to purchase during Christmas and things can get pretty tight. I want to suggest others way you can give and “Be Christmas” this year.
Give your time. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry. Offer to Christmas shop for an elderly family member or friend. Help sort gifts for angel tree recipients. There are plenty of non-profits who need extra hands during this time of year. To find them in your area, call your local church or do a search online.
Give your clothes. Take an honest look in your closets. Go ahead I'll wait. Are you really going to wear that jumper outfit from high school ever again? Or how about those shoes collecting dust? Didn't think so! I was right there with you. I had large space bags full of clothes from high school and college. Styles I would never wear again but I held onto them because they were so “cool” at the time. Maybe in the future they would be in style again (haha no), and even if they were I still would not where them! So I got honest with myself and went through every closest, drawer, and bag I could fine. I ended up giving away 3 giant black garbage bags full of clothes to a local nonprofit. All the shoes that I never wear, they went in another large trash bag and I gave those away too. It felt liberating to have closest space and being able to close drawers without pushing and shoving.
Give your food. About the same time I emptied my closets I attacked my pantry. We all have bought a ton of food before because it was on a really great sale. If you know you won't be able to eat it all before the expiration date give it away. Every time you throw away food, you're wasting money and the opportunity to bless someone else.
Please get your kids involved too. They can help you go through their toys and clothes to donate. My daughter loves getting extra food at the grocery store for mommies and big girls who don't have enough to eat. It's important to teach our children at a young age that there are those in the world less fortunate then they are. I believe the younger we start this the better. Then they don't grow up thinking everything should be handed to them on a silver platter. I also think it's a great deterrent to the teasing and bullying poorer children face at school. Our kids can learn compassion and mercy for those around them, making the world a better place. Ok, that sounds cliche' but honestly, you can be having a bad day and all it takes is one person to make your day brighter.
It doesn't take money to bless someone during this season. God didn't send money to us He sent His Son. It wasn't a free gift for Him, it cost Him time and emotions. But how many people have been blessed because of that? Jesus came to this Earth to reunite mankind with God. God has already given the perfect gift to all of us, we just need to unwrap it and be thankful.
John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry. –Luke 3:11