Christmas time provides Christians with the opportunity to share the Gospel message of hope. Christmas is also an opportunity to bless others with our abundant giving by demonstrating the same grace and love that Jesus Christ and the good Samaritan exemplified. In the lead up to our Christmas celebrations consider the less fortunate, the disadvantaged children, single mothers and the homeless. STOP TO LOOK AROUND CLOSELY AT YOUR COMMUNITY Being caught up in our busy lives can mean that we don’t necessarily stop to think about the welfare of those in need. There are many men, women and children doing it tough. The homeless sleeping in cars, cardboard boxes or in plain sight laying on the cold and hard pavement out on the streets are often exposed to the brutal elements. Living out the open, often means the homeless are also vulnerable. Your gracious generosity can provide them with nutritious food, shelter and clothing, and even go as far as preventing future crime. How Your Generosity Can Make A Difference There are so many different ways we can make Christmas more enjoyable for those less fortunate than ourselves. Addressing the immediate needs of the homeless person/s may be the key to helping them gain the confidence to look for a job, become socially engaged and give them hope. For example, the homeless person may have holes in their shoes, may need warm clothing or a blanket, new socks, need a haircut, new underwear or toiletries. Below are 10 examples of what we can do in our own communities for making a difference to the lives of others. 10 Ways To Give Raise Money For Charity Find creative ways to raise money for Christian charities and causes. Oxfam – Give to Charity that helps the poor in third-world countries. One of my favorite organisations this time of year is the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. They send out personal packages to kids of all ages with gifts. Donations can be made on their website. Declutter Your Home Give your unwanted items to local charities such as the Salvation Army or to your local Vinnies stores. Visit local homeless shelters to donate blankets, socks, underwear, toiletries and your unwanted goods. Sadly some of these charities end up spending thousands of dollars annually to get rid of discarded rubbish that could otherwise be disposed of elsewhere. Be mindful to donate working, good and useful items. Online Giving Choose a toy for a needy child on the Smith Family website and donate it. Make Up Hampers Make up some toiletry packs including a bar of soap, a roll-on deodorant, shampoo & conditioner and toothpaste or make a small Christmas food hamper with a mixture of goodies and include bottles of water. Provide Home Cooked Meals Ask around your church if there’s a family who would appreciate a home cooked meal. It’s common for family members to be spending time in hospital during the Christmas break or to fall ill. Some churches keep a freezer full of home cooked meals for families in need. Wishing Trees The Kmart Wishing Tree – When author Enid Blyton, thought of The Magic Faraway Tree that magically filled up with presents for disadvantaged kids, she probably didn’t realise that people will work hard to bring her her idea to life. What great way to get children involved in giving by picking and choosing presents to bless the lives of other children. Use Your Voice To Make A Difference Take a really good look around your local community. Write to your local minister when you see the hardships faced by those living on the streets. Kick The Kringles Each year an estimated $16.3 million is wasted money on workplace Kringles, urging the workplace to pass the hat around or do other things on their list in order to help raise money for the needy. Here are 10 Ways to Kick the Kringle (and still have fun). Shout Someone Pay for a meal, drink or coffee for someone. There are countless women living in refuges and men who have no jobs to go to. Some of those homeless teenagers are simply seeking a better environment than the one they have at home. Love Unconditionally When giving, don’t expect anything in return, even if you simply give your time to others. That’s what unconditional love is all about. BIBLE VERSES IN SUPPORT OF GIVING Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.” 1 Corinthians 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” GOD IS A GENEROUS GIVER Grace makes gratitude and generosity possible. Keep doing good for others all year round is an act of faith. God’s ultimate gift of salvation is free through faith in Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV) Sandra Ciminelli Cred. Dip.Couns.(Christian) Sources: Givenow.com Oxfam Biblegateway.com Study the aifc CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling Share this Facebook Twitter Pinterest Where to get help 24/7 Helplines Lifeline: 13 11 14 Kids Helplines: 1800 551 800 Mensline: 1300 789 978 Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36 Headspace: 1800 650 890 Talk to your doctor and see a mental health professional. Visit CCAA to search for a Christian counsellor near you.