Each year, when the air begins to cool and the leaves slowly show their brilliant colors, my mind often turns to the holiday season, and how our family can be a special blessing to others during this time. While my family does such things as sponsor children through Compassion International and bless local families with meals as needed throughout the year, and other needs as we become aware of them and are able to help, it seems there are more needs that come to light during the holidays than at other times. Often churches and organizations are more vocal about encouraging the community to serve during the holidays. Our church is collecting items for baskets to give to families in need for Thanksgiving, so that they will have the necessary ingredients to prepare a meal that they may not otherwise be able to serve to their families. I’m sure there are many more opportunities to serve in my community as well as in yours.
I want to highlight a few ways to serve others locally and across the world, as well as list some of the blessings that our family has personally received due to serving others. And I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone this season, to give to others, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to really see how your blessings poured out upon someone else can make your holiday season one of the best you have ever experienced!
Ways to Serve Locally
Contact your church, or other local churches, to find out if they have anything going on to help needy families over the holidays. Our church (as well as many others in our area) is collecting food items to pack in baskets and give out to families so that they will have all the necessary items to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving meal. Perhaps this is something that you could do as a family!
Perhaps there is a person or family in your neighborhood who has nowhere to go over the holidays. Extend an invitation to join you for the holiday meal. This gives you the opportunity to pour out the love of Jesus on someone who may spend the day alone otherwise. What a wonderful blessing to your family as well as the individual or family you invite, and a fabulous example you will set for your children of how to serve and show Jesus’ love to others.
Is there a soup kitchen, food pantry, or clothes closet for which you could volunteer some time or donate needed items? Many cities, even small ones, boast organizations which offer food, shelter, and clothing to those in need, and I know they could always use an extra pair or two of willing hands to help out. And offering food or clothing items helps them to keep folks’ bellies full and bodies warm when the cold temperatures set in!
How to Serve Others Worldwide
One of our favorite organizations, as already mentioned, is Compassion International. It is a true blessing to our family that we are able to donate money for 3 children in 3 different countries across the world. We receive letters from our sponsored children as well as updates from Compassion about what is going on in each region. During birthdays and at Christmas we are also afforded the opportunity to donate money that goes directly to our children to purchase items that may be needed. A ‘helper’ is assigned to each child to go out and facilitate the purchase of desired and/or necessary items. It is always a joy to read later in their letters what a difference the shoes, clothing, or other necessary items are making for the children and their families. The children are always sure to include drawings for us, and we are sure to hang them on our refrigerator as a reminder to pray for them and just to be able to see it as we go about our days.
There are many other ways that you can help children and families across the world. I’ve listed just a few below for you.
World Vision Fighting injustice and poverty in nearly 100 countries around the world.
Living Hope International A ministry to aid street children in Mexico.
Some of my blogging friends have shared their great ideas for serving others during this special season. Please visit the links below to read their posts and adapt some of their ideas to use with your families to serve those in your communities over the holidays this year!
Serving Others and Receiving Blessings
Jennifer of A Divine Encounter says, “I think prayer is the most important thing we can do to serve others…whether or not there are more “tangible” things we can do, too.” I think she is right! Jennifer shared this link with me for Operation World, and I was excited to see that the site touts itself as “the definitive prayer guide to every nation” and offers a prayer calendar for your convenience.
Tabitha of Meet Penny has written several posts about serving others.
My sweet friend, Katie, is a missionary in Mexico! She shares several ideas for serving with kids in her post, Kids Ministry Ideas and Inspiration. Katie also has some fabulous ideas for specifically serving missionaries in her posts How to Bless Missionaries at Christmas and 10 Creative Ways to Support Your Missionary.
Do you have ideas for how to serve others during the holiday season? Or a favorite organization to which you donate your time, talents, or money? Please share them in the comments below!
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