Wednesday, December 25, 2019

5 ways you can show others Jesus this Holiday season

First, before diving into the long column posted below, you can take in the full video that I took on December 2 at the B-B-E high school Christmas concert...posted with a December 5 web article at the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper website (short link): Also included in that web article is a link to the newspaper's online photo gallery from that night.

And here's a link to the Bonanza Valley Voice website where you can watch a short video clip shot on main street Brooten yesterday morning (short link):

"Five ways you can show others Jesus this Holiday season"

written by Kayli Thompson,

If you’ve ever worked in retail, you know that the holiday season isn’t always “the most wonderful time of the year.” That’s because people get mean, and cranky. We get caught up in all that “has” to be done, rush through the holidays, and leave others feeling miserable. The other half of people don’t get mean, they just get grumpy because they’re tired of being treated terribly and feel like the whole season has become about stuff. So what can be done? 
We’ve put together 5 ways you can show others Jesus this holiday season. 
1. Volunteer
The most obvious way is to volunteer. Shelters, soup kitchens, rescue organizations all can use help during the holidays. They can use it year-round too, but the holidays are especially busy. Many places need people to come and either help serve food, clean, ring a bell, etc. 
But if you can’t get there to volunteer in person, you can offer to provide items or a financial donation. You can give to a food pantry, donate to your local shelter, or pick out a few tags from the trees you see in stores to buy Christmas presents for a child in need. 
This is one of the simplest ways to show others Jesus, volunteering your time to others. And there are so many different ways to volunteer now, it’s so easy you’ll wonder why you hadn’t started volunteering sooner. I volunteer for Jesus’ Economy from the comfort of my own home. And it’s incredible because I can visibly see the impact we’re making by extending love to those who need it. We’re always looking to welcome more people on board. You can also visit VolunteerMatchGiveGab, or literally google “places to volunteer near me.” When you find something that strikes you, check their website and social media or call to figure out how to best get involved. 
2. Deliver Holiday "dinner" baskets to those in need
So many families can’t have a holiday meal because they can’t afford it or they don’t have a car to actually get the supplies for it. Food pantries and churches fill the gap where they can with offering free food and meals near the holidays but most food pantries don’t have the funds to give out 20-30 turkeys or hams. 
You can give a family a special holiday meal by filling a box with basics like a ham, some veggies, instant potatoes, and a dessert. You can include a little note letting them know someone cares, whether you do that anonymously or not. You might already know of a few families in need, but if you don’t, you can reach out to your local food pantry, church, or school to identify who could benefit from a holiday dinner basket. 
Providing a family or two with a holiday dinner basket shows them they aren’t alone in this world and that someone cares about them and their family. After all, Jesus tells us in Matthew that whatever we do to those in need, we do to Him. “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, … ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:35a, 40b, ESV). When we take care of others, when we help those in need, we’re doing the work Jesus wants us to do. 
3. Give your time
The holiday season gets busy and depending on your ability to say no, it can get chaotic busy. Our calendars are filled with school, church, and work then we pack on events that those schools, churches, and workplaces hold along with sprinkling in fun, seasonal activities. It creates a few months of constant running and never pausing, never enjoying. 
So imagine how you could make someone feel if you gave them your time. Even if it’s a couple of hours carved out of your day. We all know we’re busy this time of year so if you take the time to take a friend out for lunch or show up at their doorstep and say, “What do you need help with?” it’ll show them how much you care. Maybe it’ll look like offering your time to someone you’ve just met or that friend you keep saying you need to get together with. 
Jesus spent time with so many people while He was here on Earth -- disciples, women, the unclean, the impoverished, Samaritans, centurions, tax collectors, you name it. He didn’t just give them ten minutes either. He sat down with them, ate with them, listened, and healed them when they believed He could. He showed how much He loved them because He gave them His time even when He knew that He didn’t have much. Don’t you think we could give even a fraction of the time that Jesus gave people? 
4. Invite someone over for the holidays (and remember: Christmas continues even after December 25!)
There’s always people who could use a place to go for the holidays, whether it’s the college student who can’t get home, the couple who can’t afford it, or the single person who doesn’t have family. Holidays can be rough when you don’t have somewhere to go or someone to spend it with. And I can guarantee you they’re hoping someone will invite them over for the holidays. 
I know it might be hard to invite someone into your family’s celebration and it might seem awkward, but it’ll be worth it. Bringing someone into your home, including them in your family, and showing them the love of Jesus by loving them is one of the greatest gifts you could give someone this season. You’ll never fully realize the impact it’ll have on them. 
Peter wrote in his letter to believers that they should be hospitable without complaining and to use the gifts they’re given to serve others (1 Peter 4:9-10, ESV). If God has bestowed upon us a home with loving family, we should extend that gift to others who could benefit from it. God wants us to share His love with others (John 13:34-35, ESV) and opening your home and family to someone who could use it is a wonderful way to do that. 
5. Be kind. 
I guess we started and ended this list with obvious ones. It seems so simple, and yet, the world seems so void of kindness, especially around the holidays. It doesn’t have to be that way; we can extend kindness and watch it grow. You can be kind in even the smallest of situations, especially because you know deep down, those situations are temporary and not worth your anger or frustration.
Practicing kindness in big or small situations every day can make a big difference in not only your own life but of those around you. You can choose to be kind to the rude cashier or when your coworker makes a mistake or when your kids break something on accident. When you choose kindness over anger, you make the person you’re extending it to feel loved. And they might just turn around and pass it on. 
God’s commandments to us were to love Him and love others as ourselves. When we’re extending kindness to others, we’re both loving God and loving others. What a beautiful picture that creates this holiday season. 

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