We all think about serving our community around the holidays, but what about ways to give back to the community all year?

Holiday Thoughts

I truly love this time of year! Cooler weather (well, for everyone but us here in Florida!), beautiful leaves (again, for everyone except Florida), and Hallmark Christmas movie time!!
The holiday season that begins with Thanksgiving is one of the joys of the year for me. I truly love all the baking, cooking and serving food to those I love. I enjoy the smells of the holidays, the cinnamon, cloves, oranges, and allspice.
The eventual Christmas tree smells that come with a beautiful, big live tree in the house.
And the opportunity to serve others through giving of food to local food banks, delivering toys for needy children, packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child or donating in the little red buckets for Salvation Army.
I love all of it. And it starts next Thursday!!
Thanksgiving. One day a year where we all stuff ourselves as full as the turkey that was baked, watch football, and take naps.

Giving back to your community

Wait, what? That is not really what it is all about is it?
I know I briefly gave lip service to the opportunities available this time of year to serve. BUT…shouldn’t we be looking for those opportunities all year long?
Jesus came to serve…his model was to teach us how to serve others.
How well are we modeling that back to the community around us? Do they see Jesus when they see us?
Or do they see a bunch of church-goers, who talk the faith on Sunday, but don’t walk it the rest of the week?
If Jesus served…how much more so should we continuously look for ways to do the same.

Tradition of Serving

Start a tradition this Thanksgiving. When you ask for things your family is thankful for…ask for ways you all can serve your community better.
Create a list of practical ideas…one for each month of the year.  This makes it doable and not overwhelming. They don’t have to be big things either. Here are some ideas to get you started:
12 Ways to Serve your Community and Give Back All Year
  1. Pick up trash in a neighborhood park.
  2. Spend an hour putting shopping carts away at a busy shopping center.
  3. Pay for someone’s breakfast/lunch in the drive thru.
  4. Walk dogs at a local shelter.
  5. Serve food at a local food bank.
  6. Have your kids make “Have a happy day” cards for a local nursing home and deliver them.
  7. Offer to wash the neighbor’s cars.
  8. Babysit for a busy couple who rarely gets a date night.
  9. Make holiday cards to send to our troops overseas.
  10. Gather books and unused school supplies to donate to a library or local school.
  11. Have an elderly neighbor or otherwise home-bound neighbor (think new moms or someone dealing with prolonged illness)…volunteer to run errands for them or mow their lawn.
  12. Skip the daily lattes for a month and donate that money to a charity of the families’ choice.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus is a richly rewarding experience. As the saying goes “Be blessed to be a blessing!”

Ammie Senn