Our gifts of generosity- time, money, energy- given with a pure heart are an offering, a pleasing aroma to God.
God showed the ultimate act of generosity by giving His son, Jesus to all who will receive Him to save us from sin and death and to give us everlasting life.
In a season about giving, what practical things can we do to be generous?
Here are some ideas:
- Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan’s Purse. Collection week is this week! November 13th- 20th. You still have a little time to participate. Pack a shoe box with toiletries and recommended items. Drop them off at a designated location. Samaritan’s Purse will include a gospel presentation and ship the boxes all over the world to children in need.
- The Salvation Army Angel Tree. Contact your local Salvation Army to hear how you can donate unwrapped gifts to local children in need.
- Donate non-perishables to a food drive or sponsor a family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas meal through your local church.
- Bless teachers and people who serve our communities with gift cards or hand written notes.
- Visit with an elderly person who has lost a spouse and be a listening ear.
What are some of your ideas?
“10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” - Acts 10:1-4
“18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:18
“3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:3-4
So there are 7 weeks until Christmas.
Every family has traditions, commitments, and a different schedule but we all have to prioritize to find time for the most important things. We thought we'd share 7 things our family does to keep the peace in case they resonate with anyone else out there. We do these throughout the year but think they may be particularly helpful during this season!
1. Amazon Gift Card Greeting Cards Delivered by US Mail Same or Next Day
Amazon to the rescue. They offer greeting cards with gift cards inside that ship the same day (if you order early enough) or next business day. It needs to be a day when mail is delivered (so not Christmas). But for all those close-to-Christmas special occasions that require gift giving, you're just one click away from a card in your hand. If you're really running behind you can even ship direct to the recipient.
2. Amazon Prime Unlimited Music and Shows
An Amazon Prime membership includes unlimited access to streaming shows and (as we learned this year) music! Build those Christmas playlists and stream your favorite Christmas shows and movies. There are music and video apps for your phone. Don't have a Prime Membership? It's worth it all year round. Free 2-day shipping on a kajillion items, streaming (we use it for all our children's shows), and things like diapers and vitamins delivered to your door with automatic scheduling. Two Amazon plugs in a row! We don't get kickbacks from Amazon. We are just sharing out of the goodness of our hearts.
3. Wal-Mart Online Grocery Shopping and Free Curbside Pick Up
100% FREE. Schedule a grocery pick up time, shop and pay online, and then drive to the store. They bring your groceries to your car. If you have the app, you don't even have to call when you get there. The GPS notifies the store. We have been using this for a few months now. We tried grocery delivery but those services sometimes don't honor store sales, the actual food prices are higher, and there are annual memberships (plus tips for drivers!) We didn't grocery shop at Wal-Mart before. Now that I don't have to go into the store, I am there at least once per week.
4. A Ready Recipe Toolbox - Links Below
Not the highlight reel type. Real economical, real fast, real yummy. There is a lot of peripheral eating besides the Christmas dinner around the holidays. Maximizing time visiting with family requires us to get creative on the meal front so I don't spend all my time in the kitchen. Some families connect in the kitchen with everyone helping out. We just aren't in that life stage right now. At the end of this post are a couple of our favorite "real" recipes that are actually good. We'd love to hear some of your go-tos.
5. Paper Products
There is no shame in this game. Again, maybe it's just our life stage but paper products are always on our Wal-Mart grocery pick up list. And not just at Christmas.
6. Poinsettias for 99¢ at Home Depot on Black Friday
Buy 10, throw them on your mantle, table, entryway, really anywhere that needs a little decorating. After the holidays you can keep them (or in our case try to keep them alive as long as possible), reuse the soil, compost them, or just throw them away. They biodegrade so this makes up for all the paper products. For those who dread venturing out on Black Friday, Home Improvement stores are generally pretty safe (read: they don't draw mobs).
7. Mangers - A Completely Unbiased Perspective
Last year our family used a manger to hold our gifts which is actually very practical. It takes 5 minutes to set up and tear down. And above all, it's a great reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season.
We'd love to hear from you? How do you simplify your holiday to spend more time with those you love and reflect on the real reason for the season?
Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Crock Pot Taco Soup (Can also be made on stove top)
Tater Tot Casserole