Wednesday, December 02, 2009
At what other time of year can we walk into the mall and hear music that directs us to worship Christ the Lord? When else can we stroll through business offices and see strings of cards depicting nativity scenes? Let’s take advantage of the seasonal opportunities, keeping our focus on the reason for the season. Here are some suggestions:
1. Find a devotional guide or plan out a Bible reading schedule to carry you through Christmastime with daily meditations on the first advent, incarnation, virgin birth, and Davidic lineage. If you haven’t already, memorize the Christmas story in Luke 2. "And it came to pass..."
2. Pray. Make a list of the people in your life who are in physical and spiritual need. Pray for them.
3. Correspond. When sending cards, remember the child you sponsor. He or she might like Christmas stickers and an explanation of the celebration. And while you're at it, take one card and send it to : A Recovering American Soldier, c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20307-5001.
4. Decorate. Let your Christmas tree serve as a reminder that Christ hung on a tree so that one day we might be invited to eat freely from the tree of life. Place your crèche in a central location, but leave the cradle empty until Christmas morning—when you make a grand celebration of the baby’s arrival.
5. Invite. Ask friends to join you in attending a Christmas production. Invite neighbors over for dinner and share about what Christmas means to you. Take a child shopping with you to buy toys for underprivileged kids.
6. Give wisely. For the people on your Christmas list, select gifts that matter. My parents prefer donations to NW Medical Teams.
7. Give of yourself. USA Today reports that 30 percent of Americans spend $750 or more on Christmas presents; 19 percent say they’ll shell out over $500 for gifts; and 22 percent will buy $250 worth of stuff. A mere 8 percent expect Christmas spending to be less than $100. Instead of laying out so much cash, consider meaningful gifts you can create. Make a gift certificate for three hours of free childcare for a neighbor. Write your life story, and give copies to your kids. Get your parents’ home movies transferred to video or disk, and give copies to the whole family. Give an old family recipe in a basket full of all the ingredients. Record yourself reading a favorite story and send it to your grandkids. Make a homemade book about Josiah, the eight-year-old king, for your favorite eight-year-old.
8. Give food. Take a basket of Christmas dinner food to someone in need. If you have children, take them with you (or borrow a neighbor's kid) and talk about the One who said, “It’s better to give than to receive.”
9. Clear your shelf. If you have ten different versions of the Bible, send a few to the Bible League. They can send five Bibles overseas (to people longing for them) for the cost of printing one.
10. Clean your attic. If you have extra bedding, pillowcases, or coats, send them to the Gospel Mission nearest you. Rather than saving it all for later, put it to good use now.
11. Invest. If people ask what you want for Christmas, provide the name of your favorite charity and ask them to make a donation instead of buying you another pink lampshade.
12. Go. Spend time visiting shut-ins or teaching literacy. Build bridges of love so you can cross them with the good news.