Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2010 Widow's Challenge: A Generous Christmas for Your Loved Ones/Neighbors in Need.

My December Widow's Challenge for you is a bit open ended and individualized; it's about giving to loved ones and/or local community members in need this holiday season. Most of us know of a family member or neighbor who could use some extra help, especially as Christmas draws near. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to select a person, family, or community group that you can richly bless this holiday season. For example, my hubby attends a seminary where there are many international families who have often made great financial sacrifices to be able to attend this school. Many of these families do not have the means to buy gifts, as they are pinching their pennies already to pay for tuition, rent, and groceries. I've chosen this group to specifically give to for my challenge. I'm going to see how much I can give out of my own stockpile of toiletries and groceries.

Another great subgroup of people would be the elderly in your family and community; many people in nursing homes do not have frequent family visits and can feel quite alone at Christmas. Home Instead, a senior care organization, puts on a program called, "Be a Santa to a Senior." Martha Cashins wrote to me regarding the program: 

Walgreens will put up a tree and advertise the program. We will receive names from Nursing Homes, Senior Housing, Senior Centers of seniors who need a gift for Christmas. Most of these seniors do not have family of someone visiting them on a regular basis. We put the first name only and the gift requested on the trees. People in the community will take the ornament and purchase the gift and return both to the store. We will have a wrapping party in each community and then give the gifts to the Nursing Home, senior housing or senior center for disbursement.

It is a county-wide program that Home Instead Senior Care has been doing for the past 5+ years. It is very much appreciated by the seniors and also a reminder to the community about how many people are alone on the holidays.

I encourage you to be creative in how you provide gifts for your loved ones/neighbors... Use your stockpile of items to create wonderful holiday gift baskets, bake special goodies, make ornaments from materials around your home, prepare holiday food boxes out of freebies from your couponing, donate your children's toys that are in like new condition, sew some hats and scarves ... the possibilities are endless! As Christmas approaches, plan a delivery date and time for your Christmas gifts. May God use you as an unexpected blessing in a family's life during this season of giving.

The following verses are from the Old Testament, regarding Israel, but how much more does it apply to us current day believers as true Israelites in the faith. The exhortation is the same; let us give generously to our needy brothers and sisters.
If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:7-11

New to the "Widow's Challenge"? Check out what the Widow's Challenge is all about.

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