Monday, November 19, 2012
1) Give a gift to God this Christmas.
Give the gift of something personal that nobody else needs to know about. It can be a bad habit, a sinful desire, something you have been putting more of your time, effort, and heart into before God (idolatry), forgiving someone, or even sacrificing more time each day to spend with Him.
2) Give more gifts of service to others.
Spend time with them. Be helpful. Offer to clean the dishes after dinner. Be genuinely interested in their lives and getting to know them better. Share the love of Jesus Christ with them.
3) Be extra thankful and humble, especially Christmas day.
Always remember that Christmas is not about the presents. It's about the act of giving, love, kindness, gratitude, family, hope, and most importantly, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Show your family and friends how thankful you are for what they gave you, whether the gift was big or small, expensive or homemade. Be thankful for what you already have and grateful for anything you receive on Christmas day. Many people, even in America, do not have the luxury of getting Christmas gifts due to poverty or crisis.
4) Give a "Blessings Bag" to the homeless.
Giving to the poor or homeless never required giving money. Give them a bag of love and hope, in Jesus' name.
Click here to see what items to put in the bag.
5) "Adopt an Angel" from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.
Find one at a local mall near you, or there may be areas in your hometown (such as grocery store, bank, chamber of commerce, etc) that is hosting a tree for local kids in your area.
Click here to find malls near you that are hosting an Angel Tree.
6) Have a birthday cake for Jesus!
Sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, or listen to this special song as you cut the cake: click here.
7) Attend Christmas Eve service (and Christmas Day service if applicable).
8) Attend a Christmas play at a local church or theatre.
Find a local church or theatre that will be conducting a Christmas play that focuses on the nativity story and birth of Jesus. These are usually done very well and really bring forth a joyful Christmas spirit.
I highly recommend your family getting tickets and/or attending these plays if available. Invite lost neighbors and friends...they will really enjoy it and hear a great message.
9) Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
Care for and serve others in need this winter, and do it in Jesus' name. Do it for Him, not to show off to everyone that you are doing a charitable service, because God sees the intentions of your heart and despises boastful attitudes and wrong intentions.
10) Read the Nativity Story from the Bible on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve.
This is a tradition in my extended family to read this story before we exchange gifts.
If you have small children, waking up Christmas morning is always exciting and joyful, so read the story after the gifts to remind them what Christmas is really all about and that presents are symbols of a generous, loving, and giving heart, just as Jesus has done for us.
11) Set up a Nativity Scene in your home.
12) Donate canned goods to the local food drive.
Go into your pantry and gather up canned goods and non-perishable items to donate to your local food drive or homeless shelter. Do this with a cheerful and generous heart, in Jesus' name.
13) Say "Merry Christmas!"
Sadly, it is hard to find stores and commercials that say "Merry Christmas" these days, so it is our job as Christians to reinforce "Merry Christmas" without shame or fear of what others think.
Next time a cashier or someone you meet says "Happy Holidays" to you, say "Merry Christmas" back.