Thanksgiving and Christmas: it truly is my favorite time of year.
For me, it's a time to soak up time with family,
talk about the beautiful mystery of Christmas,
reflect on all the things that we have to be thankful for,
and revel in the beauty of the great love in our lives.
But for others, it isn't such a beautiful time. It's cold and dreary,
money is tight or nonexistent, the table is empty,
and there is worry in how to provide, where to lay their heads,
and even whether anyone truly cares.
I feel pulled to give from my abundance. No, we're not rolling in money, but we can
spare something - anything - to show love and care for those in need.
Not only is it something that's in my heart to do, but it's something I want to come naturally to my boys,
to have a desire to give of themselves, even if it's a sacrifice.
And there are so many creative ways to do it!
Will you join us?
There are so many different ways to give - I've made a little list, and I'd love for you to add your own ideas in the comments!
1. Give to the food bank. I don't know how things are where you live, but I know the shelves are pretty bare at our local food bank. Lute's school had a food drive last week with the goal of 2,500 items donated. I am excited to hear how close they got. The kids were so proud as they carried in their bags filled with food each day. It was an easy, tangible way to teach them about sharing with those in need and help provide for others over Thanksgiving.
2. Donate to or help organize a clothing drive. It's cold and now is the time to clean out those closets filled with warm coats and sweaters that we don't really need. I'm speaking to myself here. I kind of have a thing for jackets, and that sounds ridiculous when I think of people who might not even have one. Sleep Country has coat and pajama collections for local foster kids, and some local shelters are more than willing to take coats, blankets, and new socks all year round.
3. Volunteer at a local shelter. Last year my small group made sandwiches for the homeless and it was an awesome time to be together and do something for the community. There is always a need - it might be something you could do from home, or you could gather the whole family and head downtown to serve a meal and provide some warm, friendly faces to those who need it.
4. The Christmas Jar. I love, love, love this idea that Danielle shared last summer. Grab a jar, decorate it with your kids (or own your own, of course), and fill it with change throughout the year. On Christmas Eve, share it anonymously with someone who needs it more than you do. Of course we haven't started ours yet, but it's on the agenda for Thanksgiving break. What a special way to share the message of Christmas.
5. Find a Giving Tree. I've seen them at the mall, and in just about every church during Christmas. A tree filled with paper ornaments with a wish from a child or an adult. It usually includes their age, their gender, and what they're hoping for. Then you go shopping, wrap it up and bring it back by the designated date, and your gift will be delivered before Christmas. This is another one I LOVE.
6. Make something! I have a yard or two of fleece from a project last year and it's my goal to whip up a few easy scarves and pass them on to someone who needs them. Use your talents to bless those around you with a little something special.
Do you have something special you do with your family every year to give back?
Do you already have plans for what you're doing this year? I'd love to hear!
On Monday, December 17, come share your story. I'll have a little link up here - I want to know what you're doing and who is in on it with you! Share your stories and photos in your own post, and link it up. In the meantime, grab a button and let others know what we're up to - the more little acts of love that we share, the more greatly we can truly know the beauty of the season.
I hope you'll join us!