Acts of Service in the Christmas Season
You may know my mom is now in the nursing home. At 93, she decided she simply could no longer navigate that flight of 20 steps. Yes, she faithfully navigated 20 steps up and down at 93. She requested we move her to where she is now. As much as she would like to be right next door to my sister and around the block from me, navigating the stairs become a concern for her.
I can only imagine many of you also have elderly family members no longer next door or around the block from you. At this time of year, we want to remember them as the holidays can be even lonelier than other times of the year.
So reach out in love. Whether you are close or have issues with each other, reach out. Even over that long standing crevasse full of hostility and estrangement; you will be glad you did. Whether the person accepts your gesture of hospitality or not is up to them, yet I encourage you to go in love, seeking peace and reconciliation, with an humble heart.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
Use your gifts. God gave them to you for a purpose. So unpack them and put them to use – today. We want to be putting our gifts to use all year long, yet life gets busy and there isn’t always time to serve. Now that the Christmas season is among us, this is one of the best times to volunteer your time (and talents too).
Not sure where to find a place to volunteer? Start with resources within your community like a nursing home, the Salvation Army, a homeless shelter, your local jail – inmates could use some love and joy this time of year too, or a soup kitchen. And if you still need some ideas check out the site Christian Volunteering at www.christianvolunteering.org. You never know who you will meet…
Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2 (NLT)
You may have a family member in a facility that would love you to bring children to sing Christmas Carols or conduct a fun game. Be creative. Let’s look at three popular volunteer ideas to help get you started:
- Visiting Elderly
One of the loneliest times of year for anyone especially the elderly who have lost a loved one, are house-bound or living in a nursing home, is the holidays. So why not put a smile on their face this year? Head to a local nursing home to visit with the residents.
You could spend a few minutes just chatting with them asking how their day is. Or read a Christmas book or some Bible verses with them. Do you have elderly neighbors? Mix up some extra batches of Christmas cookies or fudge and put together a little goody plate for them. It doesn’t take much to put a smile on their face – they just want some company! (Just like we do!)
- Soup Kitchen
A soup kitchen is a place where the homeless or destitute can go for food. There are millions that go without food each day, a soup kitchen is just the beginning in helping feed the hungry. In larger cities/area they have actual soup kitchens but in smaller areas it may not even be called a soup kitchen.
In many small towns, it’s may be a church basement that is used for a free breakfast or lunch done daily. They are always looking for volunteers and during the holidays, families enjoy doing this. It’s a great learning experience for kids and teens to let them see how some people don’t even have access to the necessities, such as food, every day without something like a soup kitchen. True appreciation begins to take root as they experience others having so little.
- Meals on Wheels
Did you know that millions of seniors rely on Meals on Wheels and tens of thousands more are on waiting lists across the country? (Source: Meals On Wheels America). That’s a pretty staggering statistic and just goes to show how important this service is. There are different ways you can help by volunteering with this service – help pack the meals, deliver the meals, and even drive to deliver meals. Want to volunteer for Meals On Wheels? Learn more here www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/americaletsdolunch.
Whenever I would be in East Texas, I helped Mom and Dad deliver Meals on Wheels a decade ago. Even though they were in their early 80s, Mom and Dad delivered meals to “the old folks.” Don’t you just love that perspective? I did then and still do. It kept them young well into their 80s.
A few last thoughts. This one isn’t a volunteer opportunity in the sense you’ll be out in your community interacting with those around you, but it’s a way to help someone in need. You can reach out to a local church and ask about a family in need to ‘adopt’ them for Christmas. You can also find your local food bank and donate, as they can always use more canned goods, personal hygiene items, etc. I recommend contacting them first to see what their needs are.
Whatever you decide, the Christmas season is the perfect time to serve others around you and a great opportunity for parents to teach their young children about the joy in serving and helping those less fortunate. After all, Jesus is the one who taught us it is better to give that to receive. So give of yourself – freely and cheerfully.
And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35 (NLT)
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19 thoughts on “Acts of Service in the Christmas Season”
I love this! My kids and I are off to volunteer tomorrow in fact! Thanks for sharing at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
I used to help with Meals on Wheels as a young adult. That is a staggering statistic.
That’s funny that your parents were delivering meals on wheels to others when they were in their 80’s! Well, if they could do it, what does that say to us younger folks? Maybe we could do more than we think we can! 🙂
Visiting from Kelly Balarie and Friends.
I found your post from Inspire Me Monday. I LOVE that you are writing about acts of service! I love all of your ideas of service. My mom lives in an assisted living place. I know they all love any visitors they can get there. I added some of my blog posts to your linky. Thank you for letting me do that! Enjoy the rest of your week!
Beautiful! I am glad your mom is in the best place for her but I remember when my parents were moved to a retirement/assisted living community. The other folks living there were many times very lonely. I would bring little treats for the people in my parents’ hallway. I hope it brought a piece of joy.
Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Thank you for your wonderful linkup and the inspiration to serve during Advent.
What a precious post! I agree with you 100% that we all have something to bring to others and that we should be serving one another. Thank you for this week’s link up!
Thank you for sharing these great ideas for giving more than just our money this season.
There’s so much working, doing and going this season- I can forget to serve. Thanks for these simple reminders.
That’s great for those parents to be delivering meals, forever young.
I love your suggestions, Susan. People who are out of the normal circles of life are always so eager and receptive when we reach out to them. Thanks for encouraging us to get out there and make a difference.
Great tips on ways to serve this Christmas! I especially liked your encouragement to serve even if we don’t know if it is wanted. Better to step out and be told “no thank you”, then to never try and miss an opportunity altogether.
Thanks for the link up today!
Susan, I found this to be a sweet reminder to consider those stuck in places they may not want to be this season.
I hope your December has gotten off to a lovely start!
Serving is such an important part of being a Christian, yet it is so often overlooked. The holidays are a great time to get started and hopefully continue throughout the year!
Two of my grandchildren recently went to a Senior Center to sing carols and visit with the patients. I was reminded of the value to all concerned as I saw the joy on their faces when they talked about it and the impact those they spoke with made on their hearts.
Your mother is a wise woman, indeed. Falling is such a concern for the elderly, and it leads to so many other concerns if it happens. I’m sorry that this adjustment is part of your story during this season, but am grateful for the heart of service and concern for others that this has brought about in you. This will be our family’s first Christmas without my own mum – quite an adjustment, and yet I’m thankful she’s free of her ailing body.
Blessings to you, Susan!
We have a “random act of kindness” calendar for the month of December, to help my kids remember that it’s all about giving to others! I am going to share with them the verses you posted as reinforcement!
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