14What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17 ESV
As the mother of a grown son, and three older kids, I can tell you for sure that if you say one thing, and do another, in ANY area of life, your kids WILL confront the issue. If you tell them it's important to care for the needs of those less fortunate, you better be prepared to do more than TALK about it! Just because your kids are past the age of Christmas story time and dough-ornament making doesn't mean you can't get them to think about someone other than themselves this holiday season. Here are a couple of ways to get your older kids into the spirit of giving this Christmas:
One of the outreaches my church participates in to help us share God's love with our community is Stockings for Kids. I mentioned this in a previous post, but I want to share the finished product with you (see photo above!). My teenaged daughter helped shop for and fill these cute stockings for less fortunate kids in our area. The stockings are overflowing with toys, candy, and more practical items. She loved it!
Another great idea for older kids is Christmas Caroling with friends, perhaps a small group, kids class, or youth group. Several years ago, our after-school Bible Clubs worked together with a local hospice, and did a caroling night for elderly, shut-in, and terminally ill patients. Hospice gave us a list of addresses, and told the people to expect us. We had the kids make homemade cards for each resident, signed up parents to drive the cars full of kids to the various homes, and the groups sang carols of the season with people in need of Christmas cheer. After the caroling, we met at a home for cookies and cocoa. It was such a memorable night!
Senior citizens are often overlooked at Christmas time, especially those who are very poor, or who have no family to care for them. Crossroads participated in SARCOA's Santa for Seniors outreach again this year. Individuals buy household items, clothing, or other items from a low-income senior's wish list, and SARCOA delivers the gifts. Why not let your kids do the shopping? Another good way to touch an older person's heart is through visits to your local nursing home. Be sure to call ahead before your family or group plans a visit, and note that many homes ask that you NOT bring sweets due to many residents' dietary restrictions. A handmade card or ornament is a better bet. Try to get your kids thinking of ways they can help this Christmas!
Prayer for Today: Father, You desire for us to SHOW our children how to care for others, not just TELL them. Give us creative ideas to help them keep their eyes on others during this season when so many kids are focused on themselves. In Jesus' name, Amen.