This is the last weekend before Christmas. That means it’s the last weekend to shop before the big Christmas morning. If you have little ones that is a big thing! We always end up opening our presents a few days early because our family travels every year to our family’s houses for Christmas. This year is a Florida year. The countdown on my cell phone says it is 8 days till the big day. The coolest thing is having a bunch of different Christmases. I’m usually pretty well stressed out by now. Our tree is full of presents already and there is still more shopping to do tomorrow. God has blessed us so we always seem to have enough money. But the fact that so many do not is not lost with me. As I sit here and look at all the red wrapped presents stuffed under the tree I think of those who are on the streets of my city freezing tonight. They may not even remember that it is Christmas. There are children who live in poor homes who are lucky to get one little present of some kind. There are plenty of charities who are able to help people like this.
The first one that comes to mind is the Salvation Army. You know who they are! If you have done any shopping of any kind for any reason this year then you have seen them and have probably also heard them ringing their bells. They have a red bucket for collecting money. I always try to put some money in one of them at least once. Yesterday I went to Hobby Lobby and there was a guy sitting inside the door with a guitar singing. No bell ringing for him. He was seranading people for change.
Another wonderful charity that helps children we will never see but who need us just the same is the ministry of Samaritan’s Purse called Operation Christmas Child. YOu fill up a shoebox with goodies for a child. Then you send them off to SP and they take care of getting them overseas to children who we will never meet but who can be blessed because of our small sacrifice. Not only do they receive a Christmas present but also they learn about the true reason for the holiday – the birth of the Christ child, Jesus Christ.
There is also a special ministry that you probably don’t give much thought to because you may not be aware of it’s existence or how it can bless a family. Our church, The Donelson Fellowship, participates in the Angel Food Ministry each month. YOu can buy a box of food for $25. They have different packages you can purchase. As a matter of fact our Lifegroup (Sunday School class) has adopted a military family whose husband/father is deployed to Iraq. A number of us have purchased Angel Food boxes for her and her children. She can fill up her pantry and her freezer and be set and ready to go for Christmas and the days after. What is super cool is that you can benefit from this program personally as well. Every month you place your order at a participation center and pay your $25. Then on distribution day you show up to pick up your box of food. I encourage you to check out the website by following the link earlier in this paragraph. Everything you could possibly want to know is on that site.
One final ministry I would like to mention since I talked about the homeless earlier in this piece is your local Rescue Mission. Here in Nashville we have the Nashville Rescue Mission. It is an amazing outreach to the homeless in any city. So even if you don’t live in Nashville I can guarantee you there is a project similar to ours in a city near you. Ours is a Christian organization that requires the “guests” to sit in on a preaching service in order to participate in any of their services. Ron has preached there many times. They offer programs for those in some sort of addiction, jobs for those interested and housing for those who qualify. Many times our church youth group has gone down there to volunteer in serving meals among many other volunteer opportunities.
These are just a small handful of the opportunities you have to reach to those beyond yourself. The season is about giving to others – whether is a gift wrapped and placed under a Christmas tree or one wrapped in the disguise of love and generosity. Why don’t you find a charity near you that you can participate/volunteer with? It will be the biggest blessing of the season. God will bless it and those you help will forever be grateful for your generosity.