One of the best ways people can get beyond holiday season sadness is to focus on others. Although our lives may not always be everything we’ve hoped for them to be, or if we’re in the midst of processing loss or grief, it’s healthy for us to remember the ways God has demonstrated His grace to us and how we’ve been blessed.
It’s recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, (Matt. 10:8) Jesus said, “Freely you have received; freely give.” One of the ways we can demonstrate that we are grateful to God for His blessings is to help others. Serving others shifts the focus off our own problems and sadness to invest our energies in helping others. It frees depressive emotions and improves our mood and outlook. The holiday season is a great time for you and your family to get involved in helping to meet the needs of others in your community — showing them the light and love of Christ. So, if you are experiencing a “Blue Christmas” this year, try a good dose of the servanthood cure.
Here are 10 ideas for reaching out and helping others during the holidays:
1. Donate your time helping out at a food kitchen or a food bank.
2. Visit someone who lives at a nursing home or who lives alone and is confined at home because of poor health.
3. Invite some neighbors who don’t have plans to join your family for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
4. Buy some (or all) of the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner groceries for a needy family in your community.
5. Have your family go through their winter clothes and coats, pick out those that are old or are no longer wanted or needed–and give them to homeless people in your area–or take them to a local shelter.
6. Make some bag lunches and distribute them to homeless people in your area.
7. Make more desserts than you need for your holiday meals. Give extras to neighbors or to a needy family in your area.
8. Find an elderly person in your area that could use some help at the grocery store. Better yet, invite them to your home for a special holiday meal.
9. Find a family in your area that could use some help to take care of fall yard cleanup, basic repair, or weatherization around their home. Buy the needed materials and get to work!
10. Invite a neighbor’s family over for a simple, fun family game night.