In the spirit of giving and compassion

We are entering into the season of giving and will be spending time and money on our family and friends to share the holiday spirit.  While we all tend to get caught up in the material side of Christmas and the real meaning slips away a little bit.   While we are bombarded by the glam and glitter of the sales and the last minute shopping for those that mean the most to us, we all tend to forget.  

We forget the homeless man on the street corner that was holding the cardboard sign this morning on the way to work this morning. We forget the pregnant single mother that is scraping together change to buy groceries at the store; we get impatient that this woman was not prepared to pay for what she picked to feed herself.  We forget the elderly widow down the street that will be alone with her T.V. dinner on Christmas as her children no longer visit her.  We forget the neglected and abused dogs and cats in the shelters and on the streets that eat scraps and fight to stay alive another night.  We forget all these things as we rack up our credit card bills buying Christmas gifts that will end up in someone’s closet, garage or yard sale.  We are consumed with the newest and shiniest item this year, while there are others that would be doubly blessed with our hand me downs that we are apt to throw away this year to make room for the new.

In the spirit of Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, I challenge each and every one of you to make a difference this year.  Change your life for a few minutes and change the life of another for possibly forever.. here are a few ideas, not only for Christmas but any time throughout the year that you are feeling a bit empty and need a fill-up in compassion and humanity.. The list is just a starting point.. And I challenge you even more to share in the comments how you did at making a difference too.

For each item of clothing received you donate an old one to a shelter.

Instead of buying meaningless gifts donate to a charity on the recipients behalf.

Rather than pass by the hungry on the street, go to the nearest restaurant and buy them a meal.

Will work for food.. Let them trim your hedges or wash windows for a hot meal.

Stray animal on the street, feed them, shelter them, save them, give them a forever home.

Lonely widow, bring them a batch of homemade cookies and a Christmas card.

Nothing to do with the visiting relatives besides go to the movies or the mall, take them all to the local soup kitchen and serve the hungry.

Write up a bunch of cards of inspiration and blessing and personally deliver them to the homeless veterans on our streets.  While at it they love a good PB&J too.

Extra money or gift cards burning a hole in your pocket?  Many charities have benefactors that will double the donations received at the end of the year.

Most of all think of others, live in their shoes for a moment and think about serving the needs in your community, the ways to serve as Christ would are endless.

Feel free to add to the list, I welcome your comments and look forward to each and every one of us making a difference throughout the year.  Merry Christmas and God Bless each one of you always.

-CJ
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