Christmas is a time of giving. It’s easy to remember to give to the less fortunate when we see Salvation Army bell ringers at every store, church outreach missions soliciting donations, community service projects in action, and other worthwhile charities requesting our contributions.
Though charities depend on the generosity of people in order to collect dollars for their individual causes, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we took things a bit further.
The definition of charity according to the Random House Dictionary is “generosity towards the poor.” I believe this goes beyond monetary gifts.
I’ll admit that there have been times in my life when I have felt uncomfortable when I’m “out of my league” in social situations. I would bet that the poor often feel the same way. As I thought about this, I came up with a few ideas that would force me to give a little of myself to someone less fortunate, as well as material gifts to my favorite charities. Here are a few ideas I came up with:
- When possible I should offer my assistance to someone in need, such as babysitting occasionally or driving someone to the doctor.
- When I can afford it, I should consider hiring someone looking for work to do odd jobs for me, such as cleaning or yard work. Not only would it help them financially, it would help me keep my own life in perspective as I get to know them.
- The elderly are often on fixed incomes. Gifts of a warm meal and a visit to their homes could make someone’s day. Many elderly persons live alone and find it hard to cook for one. I can think of several older friends, many who are still active, but would enjoy a home-cooked meal delivered to their door.
- Many senior citizens don’t have the means to get out much. The next time I take a drive to my old stomping grounds I should ask one of my older friends who lived in the same area to ride along and reminisce.
- Most importantly, as a Christian I should give the underprivileged the gift of friendship, just as I would want to be treated if the situation were reversed. A simple “hi” or an invitation to my house could mean the world to someone down on their luck.
Now comes the hard part—actually living out my own suggestions. Here’s where I need to go to God in prayer and ask Him to give me that nudge to remind me to treat others like Christ treats us. Especially the poor and down-trodden.