Christmas is a great time to serve your community, your family and the world around you. Each year we hear and see a multitude of suggestions for serving the less fortunate during the Christmas season. From the ringing bells of the Salvation Army to the shoe boxes of Operation Christmas Child many good opportunities are placed in front of us.
One of the focuses in missional living is about creating deeper relationships. Building a deeper trust and authentic caring that ultimately may open up more opportunities to encourage others and share life together with them.
The question being asked is: What can we do to love the people that God has placed in our midst during this season? (Specifically those that are vulnerable, lonely or unappreciated during Christmas.) With that in mind here are 5 simple ideas for living missionally at Christmas.
1) Visit a nursing home: I have found that so many of the folks living in nursing homes do not have visitors during the Holiday season. The elderly are often lonely and forgotten during Christmas and the smile of a young child or kind words of a caring friend can lift their spirits. Take the time to visit a nursing home and create a new friendship with a senior in need.
2) Thank your garbage collector: The average temperature during the month of December in Sioux Falls is 29 degrees. Today as I sit and type this blog it is a high of -1 outside. People working outside have a rough go of it in this cold. Figure out when your garbage collector comes by your house and greet him with a warm cup of hot chocolate and a small Christmas gift card. I did this last year and was surprised by the huge smile of thankfulness on his face. We have since carried on several short but good conversations.
3) Help with Christmas shopping: Is there an elderly neighbor near you that may need some help with their shopping? Christmas traffic near the shopping mall is the worst. Let alone if you are elderly and have a hard time driving in the snow and cold. Offer to shuttle around an elderly person for an afternoon this Christmas to help them purchase their Christmas gifts. It is a great way to get to know them better while showing them you care.
4) Bake a treat for the Security guard: Many of us work in offices or businesses that have a night watchman or security guard at the door. Instead of simply saying Merry Christmas on your way out the door at night, give them a plate of cookies to show them you care and appreciate their work. Ask them if they have Christmas plans. Take the extra 5 minutes to listen and create a new friendship. Maybe you will get the chance to encourage them in a way you never expected.
5) Remembering those who are missed: Do you have any friends or acquaintances who have lost a loved one this past year? Christmas can be one of the hardest times of the year when dealing with loss. A phone call, unexpected message or quick coffee date can be a good pick-me-up for someone going through mourning. Take a moment to consider how to bless and encourage them during this challenging time.
What are your ideas? Have you done any special things to deepen relationships and reach out with God’s love during Christmas? Leave me a comment with your experiences. I’d love to hear your thoughts.