I've been encouraged in the last few weeks with youth workers writing about how they are helping young people to express and think of giving to others over this Christmas season. Of course we all love receiving, but our giving to others can make a huge difference to their experience of Christmas and their understanding of the real Christmas message. The wise men came to worship the new-born King and they expressed that by giving gifts. May God help me to express my worship to him this Christmas time through giving to others.
In this article I asked what we might do. My thoughts included a visit to a children's ward in the local hospital, giving to a Christmas appeal, visiting a homeless shelter bearing gifts or helping with meals, making Christmas cards for folks who will be alone this Christmas to let them know someone is thinking of them.
I enjoy reading Brian’s blog, and in recent weeks his Advent thoughts. He lists some of his own thoughts here which include,
- Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.
- Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.
- If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary, especially one who takes God's love and Good News to those who have never heard His name.
- There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no Christmas tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Jesus and they will make the delivery for you.
And a couple of practical examples from fellow youth workers,
'This past weekend we had a great time. Saturday several of our teens went to visit the elderly. No carolling, no gifts, no real agenda. Just spending a few hours listening to their stories and cheering them up. We did see another youth group come in and carol, so we joined too!' Gman
'Last night we continued our challenge this Christmas season to get outside ourselves and bless a family in need. After hearing numerous stories from the teens of people they know who are in need, they voted on the family they would like to help. The family they selected lives an hour away and don’t have money to pay the heat, buy food, let alone get presents for the two boys who live in the house. As small groups met the rest of the night, it was unbelievable to hear the many ideas that were shared about how they can bless this family.' Dave Roberts
I just love these stories and others like them. It's still not too late to allow your young people to experience a richer understanding of Christmas by giving to others.
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. John Bunyan
God has given us two hands - one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing. Billy Graham
Giving is true loving. Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Seek joy in what you give not in what you get. Anonymous