Every Christmas, we celebrate the single most precious gift ever given—the gift of Christ coming as a man to walk among us and to take our sins upon Himself and to die for them. There is no way we could even partially return His gift, but we should actively be doing whatever we can to follow the second-most important commandment—to love our neighbors. And serving others is one of the easiest ways of showing love.
Here are some ways you and your children can serve others this Christmas and give back the love of Christ.
Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler and her children hand out bags of useful goodies to those in need. Even younger children can help in putting bags together and handing them out. Customize your bags for Christmas by including a small wrapped surprise gift along with the other items.
Pack shoeboxes full of fun gifts for children all around the world. Your child could choose to pack a box for a boy or girl of the same age. By having a child put it together, you know that it’s a box a child will enjoy. But the deadline for turning boxes in is in mid-November to allow time for the gifts to be shipped abroad. Be sure to make a note of it for next year!
Adopt a Family
Invite a family that has lost someone or an older couple that has no family to join your holiday meals. Your children can welcome them by encouraging them to take part in your family traditions. When I was a young teen, the families that “adopted” my dad, my brothers, and me for the holidays were the biggest blessings I could have asked for.
Make service coupons for your children to endorse and hand out to elderly, sick, or struggling neighbors or church friends as Christmas gifts. The receivers can turn these coupons in for services whenever they need something done, such as taking care of the lawn, cleaning the house, or babysitting. You can make your own or use these printable coupons.
Many hospitals with neonatal intensive care units allow volunteers to come in and hold or spend time with the babies whose parents aren’t always able to be there. Some hospitals even have training programs that teach the volunteers how to handle cuddle sessions. Volunteer baby cuddlers can let the nurses stay on task and encourage parents that there is always someone giving their struggling babies the love they need. Contact a local hospital to ask about volunteer baby cuddling.
Your older teens might enjoy helping out at an animal shelter during their Christmas break. Many shelters have seasonal events that they need extra volunteers for or down periods when the regular volunteers are on vacation. And volunteers don’t just spend all their time petting cats and dogs. They often get to work alongside the shelter workers and help potential adopters.
While it’s certainly important to share God’s love during the Christmas season, there’s no reason you have to stop on December 26. Many of these ideas for serving others are applicable all-year-round. So encourage your children to reach out and be blessings during this season and next year too!