This is the 12th in a series of articles from New Hope authors this month on the theme Celebrating Christmas in a World of Need.
Because my husband’s work took us away from both sides of our family, we developed some Christmas traditions built around reaching out to people in need. We exchanged gifts and mailed the usual boxes to grandparents and friends, but my husband and I always tried to provide opportunities for our 3 children to experience giving rather than just receiving.
In addition to earning money for the annual Christmas missions offering by doing extra household chores, Wayne, Phillip, and Janna helped with a variety of projects for homeless families, providing holiday meals, gathering canned goods, and buying gifts for children. We had a lot of fun through the years as a family knowing that we helped others to celebrate Christmas too.
Children grow up, marry, and establish homes of their own. After many years, it was just my husband and me! That first year was a time of adjustment because there were no children at our Christmas celebrations.
It was obvious that we needed to establish new traditions, ones that fit our new title as “empty nesters.” We began to look for new opportunities to share Christ with others during the Christmas season.
Since then, we have tried in a number of ways to minister to the spiritual and physical needs of others at Christmastime. We have served meals at a senior citizen center and on skid row in Los Angeles. We have bought gifts for children whose parents were in prison and helped with a follow-up celebration event for their families. One year in an effort to help one of my granddaughters learn the blessing of giving to others we shopped for winter scarves and matching gloves for the homeless. Another year we set a goal of filling 15 Operation Christmas Child boxes. The hardest part was finding the boxes!
We have recently moved from California to Indiana and are already in search of a Christmas project that will allow us to share God’s love through Jesus, His Son. Merry Christmas as you, too, establish or continue Christmas celebrations and ministries!
Linda M. Clark speaks both nationally and internationally on a wide range of subjects of interest to women and leads seminars, retreats, and conferences on spiritual growth, women’s life issues, and missions. She is the compiler of 5 Leadership Essentials for Women and author of Awaken the Leader in You.