With Christmas around the corner, it’s easy to get caught up in the preparations and shopping and miss out on the real blessing of Christmas. Our kids get so excited, anticipating their gifts, that Christmas can come and go without them realizing how much they already have, the blessings they’ve already received and the real reason for all our celebrating. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, it’s a perfect time to provide opportunities for kids to experience the joy and blessing that comes from sharing the unconditional love of Christ, through acts of service and giving.
The greatest gift we can give our children is to allow them to experience the blessing that comes from blessing others. Joy derived from giving to, or doing for, someone else, fulfills like nothing else we do in life. That’s truly no accident. We’re called to help and serve others. (Matthew 25:35-40) Doing something as a family, that serves and blesses others, not only teaches great life lessons, it blesses those you serve and creates family memories that will be a blessing for a lifetime. There are so many opportunities to bless, and consequently, be blessed, like:
- Rake a neighbor’s yard or scoop the snow out of their driveway. Our Sr. High Youth Group at church recently did a “rake and run” where they swooped in on yards in the community, raked, bagged and hauled away the leaves and left the surprised homeowners to enjoy the gift.
- Bake cookies, homemade bread or holiday treats for friends and neighbors. The gratitude and excitement will leave your kids smiling from ear-to-ear.
- Collect food for your local food pantry.
- Donate to the local Toys for Tots program.
- Grab a tag or two from a Christmas tree in the “Christmas Angel” program in your community and purchase the gifts requested.
- “Adopt” a family in your community and surprise them with a basket of “fixings” for Christmas dinner and a wrapped gift for each member of the family.
- Give the gift of a farm animal to a family overseas, through an organization like World Vision. This gift will continue to provide year-round food and/or income.
- Sponsor a child in need through an organization like World Vision or Compassion International.
- Donate to a youth ministry’s mission trip fund or to support a missionary who provides help and education to those in need.
- Donate toys, coats, gloves and clothing to a homeless shelter.
- Participate in a Champions for Kids Simple Service Project.
And lastly, take the time to list out or talk about all your blessings with your children. It’s easy to live life day-to-day and take for granted all that we have been blessed with. Decorate a blessing box with your children and then leave it in a conspicuous place in your home. Be sure there are always slips of paper and a pencil, next to it. Each time someone in your family feels blessed, let them write it on a slip and drop it in the box. Every Thanksgiving, or once a month, whatever works for your family, after you enjoy a meal together, empty the mountain of “blessings” from the box and take turns reading them out loud. You will be humbled at the sheer number of blessings you collect and you will learn to appreciate “everyday” things, anew, when you hear them from the perspective of your children. Gratitude and contentment, generosity and sharing are learned character traits and as parents, we have so many awesome opportunities to teach them.
Mercy recognizes the stress we put on ourselves and our families over the holidays. They want to remind us that ‘Our greatest blessing is to see others blessed.’ One way we can do this is to pause, list our blessings, and share them with others. Let’s count our blessings together at www.ourblessingscount.com. (Hint: Click the snowflakes to see others blessings. So cool!)
What are your ideas for allowing your family to feel blessed, by blessing others? Do you make a conscious effort to provide your children with the chance to experience the joy that comes from blessing and serving others? Do you talk with them about all the ways they’ve been blessed?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mercy. The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.