Christmas is the best time of year and the worst time of year. It all depends on who you’re asking. For many the holiday season is a joyous time spent with family and friends. For others it speaks of loneliness and isolation. While we celebrate within our own spheres, I think it’s important we serve and love others as a family during the Christmas season. It doesn’t have to be grandiose, even the smallest gesture can make all the difference in someone’s day. Although there’s nothing wrong with exchanging presents, having parties, and decorating Christmas trees, we want to be sure and focus on Christ and His teachings this season as well.
Here are some ways you can get your children involved in serving others and pointing them towards Christ during Christmas.
There are likely already parties, church events, and activities filling up your calendar for the next few months. But before you get too busy, why not seek out some organizations or charities within your community and find out if they are doing anything for the holidays. Homeless shelters may need extra clothing and blankets or people to help serve meals. Children (even small ones) can understand the concept of helping others stay warm and fed, so this is a great opportunity to open your children’s eyes to the greater world around them. A simple internet search may reveal a wealth of opportunity for you and your children to get involved serving others over this season.
Organize an event
My church has an ongoing ministry in a a local housing project. During Christmas we throw a massive outdoor party complete with a feast, bouncy castles, crafts for the kids, music, and people actively engaging the community in meaningful conversation. It’s not about having a Santa make false promises to children about Lego and tickets to Disney World. But about finding out where people’s hearts are, if they are struggling, and what they feel this time of year. The atmosphere is one that attracts crowds, and there are inevitably many opportunities to talk about Jesus. Last year there was a designated space for people to write what they were most thankful for, and it was a powerful conversation starter.
Invite others into your home
When we think Christmas, we think family. As someone who lives far from her family, this can be disheartening because it means Christmas is lonelier than in previous years. Last year, friends invited us to their home for Christmas afternoon dinner and we were blessed beyond measure. If you know people who don’t speak with their families, don’t have a support circle, or are going through a hard time, think about inviting them into your home at some point during the holidays. Explain to your children that Christmas is a time to point others towards Jesus, and part of Jesus’ ministry was caring for others. A simple meal, ride to and from church, or evening in watching a holiday movie can help make a huge difference in the life of someone going through a hard time.
Slow down and look around
Christmas is, perhaps, one of the busiest seasons of the year. It’s also a time when we are very focused on what’s happening within our own four walls. I encourage you to look around at the people near you. Look for those who are suffering, those who don’t have fond memories of Christmas, or those who need extra love and support. Don’t be intimidated to ask them what they need. Offer friendship during this time with your own family. I promise you won’t regret it.
Rachel Norman blogs at A Mother Far from Home on parenting, motherhood, and spiritual life with little ones. You can find her on her podcast, Create a Haven, Not a Crazy House and subscribe to her newsletter for 25 Sanity Saving Tips for Moms.