How many of us this Christmas will go shopping for typical gifts such as toys, clothes, and jewelry? These novelties are fun and exciting, but also fleeting and temporary. It sometimes seems that the most celebrated thing at Christmas time is materialism, which is the exact opposite of what our Lord and scripture teaches us.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6: 19-20
Gift-giving is one of the greatest traditions of Christmas, but in the midst of all of this materialism, how can we keep Jesus at the front and center of our holidays? It is a simple answer, really, because Jesus was pretty straightforward in this matter: serve others.
Gift of Service Ideas for Christmas
Serving others out of love is the best way to spread Christmas cheer and keep Jesus at the forefront of our holiday. It is a gift that will last forever, not only because our good (and bad) deeds are kept track of, but also because your gift of service may inspire the recipient to serve someone else, causing a ripple effect.
Here are some ideas for how you can give the gift of service this Christmas:
- Volunteer at a local ministry to serve in whatever capacity is needed during the holidays.
- Give Christmas cards with service coupons inside, such as: “Good for One Free House Cleaning,” “One Free Meal,” or “One Night of Babysitting.”
- Go on a short-term mission trip to serve someone outside of your community. There are many options for domestic and even international short-term trips. Change your perspective by serving a person, family, or culture you have never encountered before.
- Bake some holiday goods and take them to a local nursing home or hospital.
- If you know any elderly folks, serve them by helping them decorate for Christmas, doing household chores, or going shopping for them.
Be creative this Christmas! Pray for eyes to see and ears to hear as Jesus does so that you will recognize when others have needs. Then try to meet them with love and service, and in this way you will celebrate what is really at the heart of Christmas.