This time of year can be busy between decorating, shopping for that last minute gift and keeping your kids occupied while you are trying to work from home. How can we get back to what Christmas is all about and How can we love others without going crazy. These are the questions that I’ve been pondering a lot lately. How can I love others and not allow helping to overwhelm and consume me and my family?
I love showing compassion for others and yet recently it seems like the need is so great. All around the world there are opportunities to show compassion and let our light shine by giving to organizations that offer relief to people who have been displaced by natural disasters or who live in extreme poverty. There are organizations that help people with medical problems such as cancer or veterans who are disabled. Then there are community organizations that help our first responders – all worthy causes and yes, I would love to give to all, but I can’t. The church I attend, helps many of these organizations so it’s easy for me to give to my church’s mission focus and know that I am helping in a small way most of the above organizations I mentioned. But I realize that’s only scratching the surface. What about helping my neighbors/friends and family who have needs?
I have friends right now who are going through a variety of things, health issues, cancer, loss of family members, depression and simply the joys and exhaustion of having a new baby in their home along with other children to care for. How can I help? I love cooking so making soup to share seems like an easy way to help, but then how do I get it to them? Between my students, writing and of course my own family, sometimes the need just seems greater than what one little ol’ me can do, especially when we are supposed to be social distancing! Can anyone relate? Forgive me if I’m ranting here. I really do love helping others and I so appreciate it when others help me, but how do I lighten my schedule in order to make room to love others without going crazy? I don’t have answers and even if I did, I think maybe the answers are better when you discover those answers yourself. What I’m trying to do though, is this…
*Walk slowly, focusing first on Jesus and then on the people around me. I want to slow down and value people.
* Do the most important things first and remember I don’t have to say yes to everything. I recognize how prone I am to get stressed, waste time and simply make poor decisions, so besides making lists, I will ask God to help me prioritize my day.
* If I know someone who needs help and I can’t do it, can I refer them to someone else? So much more gets done when we team up with others.
* I can’t do everything, but I can do something.
To recap, how can I love others without going crazy?
1. I will choose to walk slowly and spend time with Jesus.
2. I will focus on people and not stuff.
3. I will do the most important things first and say no to that which isn’t important.
4. I will ask God for help and team up with others.
Thank you for sending Jesus to earth to walk among us, to give his life for us. You truly loved us. You loved enough to give your very best. I want to give my best. Help me to focus on those things which are most important. Help me to love you and to love people above all else. I don’t know how to do that God. I’m not always sure how much to give, how much to help and how much to let go of, you gave everything. I do know that I can trust you to show me each day how to show compassion. Guide my steps and when I mess up, like a loving Father, pick me up, to guide me and infuse me with your love. Help me, help us all, to walk slowly, to love you above all else and to let go of all the crazy things that seem so important. Remind me of what Christmas is really all about, God entering our world and living among us, dying for us and bringing us new life. That is Christmas and that is what I want to share. Amen
HELPING YOUR CHILDDEVELOP AN AWARENESS OF GOD AND OTHERS
* Let your kids hear you talk to God throughout the day. Include your kids in the conversation by saying one-sentence prayers together. EX: “Thank you God, for Jesus.” “I love your Jesus. Thank you for loving me.” “Wow! God, the sunset is beautiful tonight.” “Help me at school today, God.” “God, I scraped my knee. Will you help it get well quickly, please?”
* Read or act out stories from the Bible together. The Bible Ap for Kids is a good way for kids to learn about God’s Word too. Take time best gift is Jesus.
* Attend church together.
* Let the sights and sounds of Christmas remind you of what Christmas is all about. Lights – Remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.
Candy Canes – Remind us of the shepherds.
Bells – Remind us of the good news that God sent His Son to be with us and forgive us.
Cookies – Remind us that God gives us good, sweet gifts. His best gift is Jesus.
* Ask questions that would get your child thinking about God such as, “Why do you think God loves us so much?”
I know we are social -distancing right now, but we can still show love, common courtesy and kindness towards others. How about, letting someone go in front of you at the grocery store or calling someone just to check in with them. Of course there is always the old-fashioned note sent through the mail to let others know you care. Send someone an e-mail prayer or drive and drop off a plate of cookies at their door. Take some supplies to your local food bank and while you are at it, drive around and look at the lights with your child.
TO SHARE WITH YOUR KIDS:
THE MAIN IDEA: John 3:16 – Share this book – “God So Loved The World” by Dandi Daley Mackall
KNOW: God loved the world. God loves me.
TALK ABOUT: Why did God send Jesus?
MEMORIZE: John 3:16 NIrV – (Hold hands open as though holding a book.)
God so loved – Reach up and then fold arms and place hands on heart.)
The world – (Make w’s with fingers and roll hands around each other.)
That He gave – (Extend hands outwards as though giving a gift.)
His one – (Hold up one finger.)
Only Son – (Pretend to hold a baby.)
ASK: Who made you? God made me.
AND DO… I can thank God for sending Jesus and I can love others.
* Make and frost cupcakes and thank God for who He is. Thank Him for Jesus.
STORY: God Loved The World – John 3:16
Jesus said, “God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son.” – (Give yourself a hug.)
Who is God’s Son? Yes, God’s Son is Jesus. God loves you and me so much that He sent Jesus to earth as a baby. – (Pretend to rock a baby.)
This is a special week. Do you know what we are celebrating this week? We are celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Even though you’re little, you can love God and thank Him for sending Jesus.
God loved the world so much that He gave us Jesus. – (Hands out as though giving a gift.)
God loves you and me and He loves boys and girls all around the world too. Let’s think of some ways we can help others. We can ask God to help us show love to others this week as we get ready for Christmas.
Thank you for loving me and sending Jesus as a baby. I love you. Help me to love others. Jesus, I want you to be my friend forever. Amen