12 Days of Giving
I grew up very different then most people. My parents were/are full time evangelist and we traveled across the country together as a family. We never had a lot of things or money, but my parents never let that prevent them from being a blessing to those they came in contact with. They instilled in my sisters and me the importance of putting others before ourselves.
When my husband and I welcomed our first little one I desired to give her the same heritage that I had been handed. My desire for my children is that they will learn to “esteem other better than themselves”(Phil 2:3). As the first Christmas for my oldest approached I began to pray for a way to train her to be a giver and not a getter. I see so many young children that are only ever concerned with their Christmas list and how many presents are sitting for them under the tree. I wanted my daughter to see there was so much more to this beautiful holiday.
As a Christian, Christmas means the celebration of the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ and the looking forward to the most important and precious gift ever given, the gift of his life on the cross as he bore the sins of the whole world on his shoulders. It is important to bring our focus as a family on sharing this most precious gift to those we love especially during this time of year. Through this desire we began seeking ways to give to people close to us. We first started by bringing cinnamon rolls to our neighbors on Christmas Eve, an idea I had received from my Aunt and Uncle who would get up Christmas morning, bake cinnamon rolls and take them to their neighbors while still in their PJs. We continue this tradition (to the delight of our neighbors!)
By the time my daughter’s second Christmas came around we had decided to expand our giving to reach more people and touch more lives. Thus was born our 12 Days of Giving. This will mark the 3rd year that starting on December 14th we will begin to work down our list of giving to people.
Our list takes time to compile as we look at our schedules for these already busy 12 days and start filling in the areas we will be giving to. It takes planning, time and sometimes money, though we try to make it about personal thought and time and not money. We do one stop a day. Some days take more time then others, some take more preparation. But in the end we have been able to be a blessing to a number of people, some Christian and some not. We have been able to spread the gospel of Christ and live out James 1:27
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Now let me give you some ideas of what we have done for our 12 days of giving.
- Crisis Pregnancy Center- We bring gifts for the expecting mothers and babies. We also bring goodies for the ladies that work in the center. This is probably our (my) favorite stop.
- Fire Department- We bring baked goods to the firemen with a note thanking them for their service.
- Veteran’s Hospital- Last year we made snow globes for the veterans in the hospital. We sent them with a couple in our church who visits the veterans.
- Shelters- We have donated gently used coats, toys, and clothes to shelters in our area. This is a great opportunity to do a toy purge and teach your children to give of their own abundance.
- Nursing Homes- Elderly people like nothing better then seeing little children, and what a great opportunity to teach your children to respect the elderly. We skipped out on this one last year because GreenBean #2 was still so young, but we will be visiting a nursing home this year with a 3 and 1 year old, guitar playing husband, candy canes and Christmas carols. This cost almost not $ but the time spent with these sweet people is priceless.
- Shut-ins from Church- Like the nursing home, these sweet folk just need to be loved on. In our last church we had built a relationship with several of the widowed ladies and they always looked forward to us coming. We generally bring a little something, but it is the time spent with them that is the true gift.
- Church Family- What a great time to bless your Christian family. We prepare treats for everyone in our church and pass them out the Sunday before Christmas.
- Co-workers- Sometimes it is hard to know just how to share the gospel with those you work with daily. We take this opportunity to share the love of Christ by having a small simple gift for each one (maybe a decorated sugar cookie or handmade ornament) and a simple card outlining the real Christmas story.
- Teachers- My girls aren’t in school yet, but we do a weekly story time at our library. Thanks to the suggestion of a friend we will be adding our children’s librarian to our giving list this year. We will have a small gift for her the last story time before Christmas.
- Random contacts- Our first year we included the hotel staff at a hotel we had stayed every weekend at while traveling for a ministry. They were shocked to see us walk in, but it gave us the opportunity to share the gospel with them. Find a contact that seems obscure like the man you see everyday when you buy you paper or get gas. They need Christ love too!
- Missionaries- So I know that at 12 days till Christmas they most likely wont receive your gift till after the New Year, but it is a great opportunity to teach your kids (and remind you) to be thankful for those bringing the gospel around the world. Pick a missionary with kids of similar ages as yours. Let them pick out a small gift and write letter or draw a picture. I picked up pen pals this way as a kid. How excited would your kid be to get a letter from Togo or Iceland!
- Family- We always end our 12 Days of Giving by giving to those closest to us. We end December 25th and share Christ love with our family. It’s a sweet time to look back at all God has give for us beginning with his life here on Earth.
I realize this post has been a bit longer than normal and out of my normal oil/health realm but the subject is so dear to my heart I was glad I could share. If you’d like to join the 12 Days of Giving challenge join our Facebook group here.
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This post is part of the 12 Days of Blogmas series with Girl on the Move Blog and Motherhood and Merlot. Head on over to their blogs to check out a link of other Christmas posts. Don’t forget to enter our AWESOME giveaway! Come back tomorrow for day 7!