this is guest post three of three from my dear friend, nancy duggin. (read post one of three HERE. read post two of three HERE. ) she has such a heart for parents, children, and families as a whole to experience the reality of Jesus in every day life. i look forward to how she will challenge us all as we prepare to celebrate Christmas 2013.
past examples of extreme Christmases from others.
- One year we began to pray I Timothy 6:18, “Be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.” God led us to give to Lottie Moon the same dollar amount that we spent on all holiday activities and gifts. One of our children wanted to empty his piggy bank, getting a gift for a classmate who had no coat.
- We begin our conversations about giving before Thanksgiving. It proves to be the perfect time, as we focus on giving thanks and expressing a life of thanksliving. One year God led us to several individuals we were able to bless anomalously. Jesus set the example of giving without expecting anything in return. That is hard for us—hard for our children. However God blesses us with great joy as we see others being blessed by our giving and service. We left bags of groceries on the porch of a family whose dad had lost their job, a Christmas tree and lights at the backdoor of a struggling single mom and spent the afternoon of Christmas Eve visiting those in a nearby nursing home with no family. We had to be intentionally about the giving of these gift, but oh the joy we continue to experience because of our obedience.
- We needed acts of service because our financial means are adequate; however, limited. We decided to ask God to show us service projects we could do as a family and share the reason for the hope in us. We joined our church in Christmas caroling at the homes of those who’d experienced great tragedy in the previous year, served meals at a local homeless shelter. Each of our children chose some books and toys to leave at the shelter. My wife made a big pot of soup. We took some to a recent widower on our street, spending an evening eating, laughing, and listening to him share about his beloved wife.
- We were tired of giving gifts that no one really needed, so we agreed to give gifts of ourselves—gifts of time, memory making gifts, the sharing of what God had done in our lives over the past year and what we believed He was doing in our lives as we opened His word to read the record of our Savior’s birth. All this sounds wonderful—maybe even a bit “goodie-two-shoes”; however, we knew we needed and wanted to make Christ the center of our celebration—not just talk about doing so.
Jesus was always investing in others. We never read in scripture where he told the disciples to hurry up. His every step was intentional, yet he was ever so sensitive to the needs of those around Him. Do you remember when the woman touched the hem of His garment, in the midst of a large crowd? May we be that sensitive so we might become His hands and feet in our hurting and lost world.
Love, joy, and blessings to each of you this holiday season, as we rejoice and celebrate the birth of our Messiah!
Nancy Youree Duggin taught public school for 24 years and served on a city school board for four years. She also is a mother to two and grandmother to three with one on the way. This October she will celebrate 40 years of marriage. Even with her plate full with family and training teachers, she spends countless hours encouraging and mentoring young moms.