Giving. It is probably my favorite part of the Christmas season. I wish that we were able to do more during the remainder of the year, but it is easier to do it at this time. I am really working on teaching my children about the beauty of giving to others in need, and just thinking outside of themselves. It will be a much bigger lesson and more of a struggle for Caleb to internalize because of his Autism. But I refuse to let that just be an excuse for him to not do anything.
In an effort to share the love and teach my children about the beauty of doing for others, we are making a list of things to do before Christmas. My hope is that we can do many of these things throughout the year as well.
- Pay for lunch for the person behind us in the drive-thru line. We did this at Taco Bell the other day and I think that is so fun! The person behind us has no idea who we are and hopefully that helped brighten their day.
- Ring the bell for the Salvation Army. We have this scheduled for Monday night. It's going to be freezing and we have a 2 hour shift. But on the up side, what an amazing way to show my kids that there are people out there that may not have homes and warm clothing and what an awesome way for them to see that first hand. And, they are doing service by ringing the bell and encouraging others to donate their loose change to a very worthy cause!
- Pack some shoe boxes for needy kids around the world. Every year we do this and I love it. My kids are slowly learning that we are buying small gifts for others. It's a difficult lesson. We picked two little boys and filled the boxes with stickers, race cars, candy, and other little toys and turned them in to our church for delivery.
- We have "adopted" a little boy from the Salvation Army Christmas tree along with my mother. This little boy needs clothes, a jacket, underwear, and socks. It breaks my heart to see children who are asking for practical things...things that I feel are basically necessities. He is going to get clothing from us, but he is also going to get some goodies as well. I want him be happy this season. My kids need to help provide this and share in the blessings.
- The boys are creating Christmas cards to deliver to a local nursing homes. Some of these people don't have family members to share the holidays with, and hopefully my kids' faces and cards will give them a bit of happiness this season.
- My mother's high school principal is now living in an assisted living. My mom occasionally takes him to some of his medical appointments and he is a big lover of sugar free candy. We are going to buy him a couple bags of his favorite candy and deliver them next week.
- My husband told us that his block at work does a toy drive much like Toys for Tots. He said that the box is empty. Oh heck no! He gave me the go ahead to just buy several toys for a boy and a girl to deliver to that dang empty box.
- Jansen and I gathered food to deliver tomorrow to our local food pantry. I talked to him about not just picking a can of food, but to think about a family of 4. Think about a mom, dad, and two kids, not unlike our own family. Think about what this family would need to eat in one day...and provide that plus a few goody snacks. So Jansen picked a box of variety oatmeal packets and a big box of Pop Tarts for breakfast. He chose packages of macaroni and cheese, cans of tuna and chicken, and cans of soup for some quick lunches. For dinner he chose a package of spaghetti and a can of meat sauce with a couple of cans of veggies. For a snacks he picked a box of microwave popcorn bags and a box of hot chocolate mixes with mini marshmallows. Love that boy!
My hope would be that we can fill a shoe box each month, so that by the time Christmas rolls around again, we can provide for 12 children. I also want to provide a day's worth of meals to our food pantry each month. It's the very least we can do. I hope that both of my boys can learn that it means more in life to provide for others, in big or small ways, than to only think of themselves. Just think of others. Hold the door open for people. Help out the elderly lady trying to load heavy groceries into the car. We never know what others are going through at any given moment and it is an honor to be able to bless someone with a hand, kind words, a meal, clothing, or gifts at Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone! It is right around the corner!