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Tis the season to be jolly, merry and down-right busy!
What a wonderful opportunity to turn that around by purposing to bring the family together to be a blessing towards others.
During times of hardship, we had to get creative with not just gift giving, but with family time and outings. Christmas, however, was one of the most rewarding times for us because we found ways to bless others.
Both movies influenced our level of giving and made us more sensitive to whom we should give. The impact of the movies affected our children as well, which made it easier to teach them the value of giving especially during Christmas.
When money is tight, it’s really easy to get caught up in the woe is me syndrome. With I don’t have money to give my kids a good Christmas, I don’t have money to do anything for me, forget gifts for others I’m trying to get gifts for myself and my kids.
When we, as a family, turned our focus to bless others in ways that were within our means, God multiplied our resources and added back to us. Even in times of financial struggle, we went out of our way as a family and helped others have a Merry Christmas. In return, we had some of the “best Christmases.” And that’s a direct quote from our children.
Here are a few creative ways we have come up with as a family to bless others, for any occasion nut just Christmas.
This is one of the easiest things to do especially if you are already cooking dinner for yourself. Pay attention to those who are single, just lost a love one, lost their job, or someone who lives near you with no immediate family. Trust us, they will be blessed tremendously to sit around a kitchen table enjoying a good meal with friends.
This may not sound like fun, but this will literally cost you nothing but time. The biggest challenge for a couple is a reliable and inexpensive baby sitter. Having a close friend or family member volunteer to babysit for free, is just as valuable, if not more, than any gift you can purchase.
There were times we wanted to bless an entire family and all we could afford was hot chocolate. So we invited the family over to play a game and made everyone a cup of hot chocolate. The night was memorable for everyone!
However, it wasn’t because of the hot chocolate. It was because we laughed and had a great time while being competitive. And the best part; it didn’t cost us anything to have a great time! Of course we documented the evening in The Game Ledger! That way our bragging rights are recorded. You know, in case there’s a dispute later about who won! Just saying…
We recently shared how our family found such gratitude in serving others as a lifestyle. It was first during the holiday season when we started to volunteer in various community outreaches. Our kids left with stories of gratitude and how blessed they were to serve others. One of our favorite outreaches was putting together reindeer candy canes for children who were in Child Haven (Child Protective Service Program) one Christmas.
During Christmas, people are the most receptive to receiving gifts, whether they believe in the message of Christ or not. Unfortunately, on the contrary, some people are more depressed because they have no family, feel alone, or have no sense of hope. Invite someone looking for hope to a Christmas service, gives them the opportunity for their heart to be restored and overwhelmed with the presence of God through song, or an encouraging word. Invite someone who could use a glimpse of hope. That just may be what they need, and it would cost nothing but the courage to invite them.
When we began to do these things, we saw blessings in unusual ways. So much so we were able to bless our own children with a great Christmas. Not to mention, we had extra finances to bless families in a tangible way to meet a need.
One of the scriptures we stand on as a family is:
“And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity].”
~ 2 Corinthians 9:10 (AMPC)
We have come to trust God whole heartily with our finances, our giving, and our receiving. As a result, we have and continue to see God provide over and over again.
No matter where you find yourself in this season, purpose as a family to seek God as to how He wants to use your family to bless others and restore hope in someone’s life. This experience as a family will help create a generation of givers for God’s glory.
Where there’s a willingness to give, God always creates a way.
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~ André and Timberley Gray
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