Thanksgiving is behind us. Christmas trees are up and decorated. Now it is time to get a move on our Christmas shopping. Choosing the perfect gift for those we love can be fun for some of the people on our list but can feel daunting for others. Isn’t it great when we come across that perfect gift for someone? We can hardly wait for them to open it up! I have been given many amazing gifts through the years, including Mr. Microphone as a child, but there is one gift that we can all give this Christmas that is so big and amazing that it can not fit in a box.
My parents gave me this amazing gift day in and day out as I was growing up, but the gift was always magnified during the Christmas Season. The gift was the gift of serving others. Serving other people is at the core of who my Mom and Dad are. Because of that, they share this gift, to this day, with each of their children, grandchildren, church family members, and community. They are now in their eighties and their life continues to be filled with serving and giving to others.
Because giving was a big part of my parent’s life, it became a big part of my life too. When my parents went to the local nursing home to brighten the residents’ day, they brought me along. When my youth group was distributing food to those in need, my parents were right there beside us, caring for people. When a family member or friend needed help, my parents would bring me and my siblings along to help them. I now recognize the amazing gift that my parents gave me by doing that. Today I LOVE to do things for other people, and it’s all because of the example my parents set for me.
You have an amazing part to play this Holiday Season! I encourage you, as you write out your gift list, to add one more “gift” to the list for those you love. Try to fit in some way to serve others. As you do, here are three ingredients, that mixed together, will impact lives in a positive way for years to come!
- Experience it together. My parents had seven children. It would have been much easier for them to go out on their own when it was time to help someone, but they knew how important it was for us to go with them. Serving others along-side my parents taught me how to serve, taught me how to love, taught me to have mercy, and brought amazing joy. Serving together is an amazing gift!
- Talk about how your acts of kindness make a real difference in real people’s lives. With six siblings, I certainly could not comprehend the feeling of being alone during the Holidays. My parents helped me understand the positive impact we were having when we visited a home-bound elderly women at Christmas. They helped me understand that she had no one in her life to spend time with and how hard that was on her. I also got to see, first hand, the living conditions of people who had nothing. I get emotional when I remember the looks of gratitude on people’s faces when we delivered food for them to eat at Thanksgiving. Helping your loved ones understand the positive impact of their actions is an amazing gift.
- Recognize that small acts make our world a better place. There is so much that is out of our control when it comes to our world around us, but there is so much that IS within our control. When we teach our loved ones to serve, we give them something they can utilize every minute of every day, 365 days a year. Small acts of service will brighten others day, like smiling when you both reach the checkout line at the same time and allowing them to go ahead of you. Thank you, by the way, to all of the Boy Scouts who spent two weekends of their time coordinating food pickup to help those in need. If every single person on this earth threw a piece of litter on the ground today, think of how messy this world would look. Now think if every single person on this earth served someone else today. Think about how beautiful this world would look. Every small gesture is an amazing gift.
How can you share the amazing gift of serving others this Christmas Season? How can you include those you love? Every small act of service makes our community and world a better place to live.
Here’s to giving the best gifts this Christmas!