Christmas is just ten days away. I’m sure you have many family traditions, including food, festivities, and fun. But this can be your best Christmas ever. Let me suggest seven ways.
1. Visit someone who lives alone.
In our years as pastor and pastor’s wife in three churches, one of our greatest Christmas blessings came from visiting shut-ins on Christmas Day. Nothing is quite like it. When you walk in the house or nursing home room, the smile on the other side of the door is priceless. This Christmas, visit someone who has no one. It will be their greatest gift of the year.
2. Attend a Christmas Eve Service.
When I lived in Gainesville, Texas, we did our Christmas Eve Service on December 23. So I had Christmas Eve off. Generally, I attended three different services on Christmas Eve, always including First Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church. Make a Christmas Eve Service a part of your family tradition.
3. Read the Christmas Story.
Just before opening gifts as a family, this is a great way to keep the focus on Jesus rather than the gifts. It takes just a few minutes. By reading Luke 1:5-56 and 2:1-20, this will take you and your family back to the real reason for Christmas – the birth of the Christ child.
4. Go Christmas caroling.
Do this as a group, with your Sunday School class, Bible Study group, or team from work. Sing at a nursing home, from room to room. Sing in a neighborhood or apartment complex. Bring the children along. This will bring joy to you and those who hear you sing.
5. Give a gift to your church staff.
For each minister, give a gift card. Whether it is $5 or $50, it will bless those who bless you every Sunday. As a former pastor, I assure you this will make a difference. It says, “We love you and appreciate all you do” at just the right time. Your church staff hears too much criticism and receives too little encouragement. You can make a difference they will not forget.
6. Send a few cards to people you haven’t talked to in awhile.
Written messages mean so much, because we receive them so seldom. In this day of social media, do what we did in the olden days – write a personal message on real paper. Seal it in a real envelope and slap on a real stamp. Make your message personal. Pick ten people. This will take about an hour but bless them for weeks.
7. Start something new.
Find a new community Christmas event to attend. Go to a different church program or presentation. Go see Christmas lights in a different neighborhood. Mix things up. Do something new.