During the holiday season, we are reminded of what it means to give. Many times, we are encouraged to give financially, give to nonprofits, give gifts…all things that require giving material goods. But what about serving people? Both giving and serving are great ways to help others and make a huge impact, but I think that we forget to do both during this season.
In the midst of a material-focused society, sometimes we forget what it means to serve others in addition to giving to others. Giving to others is a great thing, but in some situations, people need to be served more than they need a gift. To serve someone shows the depth of how much we care for them.
What do you plan on giving to others this holiday season? If you plan on giving to the church, people in need, or even just gifts for the family, I would encourage you to also think of ways that you can serve those same people in addition to the gifts that you give.
A great way for you and your family to focus on serving others this month is to plan an advent calendar for serving during the 12 days leading up to Christmas! This is a great activity to do for everyone! Whether it’s just you, you and your friend or spouse, or you and the whole family, creating a plan for 12 days of serving will help you intentionally care for others this season.
Creating a “12 Days of Serving” Calendar
Brainstorm and write down some ways that you could serve others. If you’re doing this with a friend, close family member, or your kids, include them in the brainstorming and see what they come up with as well. During this brainstorming process, don’t be too hard on yourself. Think small at first and then write down what you come up with.
Make a List
Try to make it your own, but if you’re having a hard time coming up with ideas, here are a few to help you start thinking:
Do the dishes for a family member
Rake the leaves for a neighbor
Send a note of encouragement to a friend
Offer to help carry someone’s groceries
Invite a neighbor over for a meal
Once you’re finished with your list, condense it down to 12 (or however many days you choose to do). Now you can make your advent calendar!
Create Your Calendar
There are many ways that you can make your calendar of serving, so it’s up to you to decide what’s best and most fun for you!
Here are a few ways that I thought of:
Write each day and serving activity on a notepad and tear the days off of the notepad as you go
Write each day’s activity on a notecard and hang them in order on a string with a laundry clip
Write each day’s activity in a notebook and journal about how each serving opportunity goes
Write your list on a dry erase board and check them off as you go
Buy or print a calendar to write down and mark off each day
I hope this is a fun and encouraging activity for you and your friends/family this Christmas! Sometimes serving others is scary and takes boldness, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself struggling to take that step. Just remember why you’re doing it and the positive outcome that it may bring in someone’s life. Be bold and share God’s love this holiday season by serving others!