Christmas is a special time of the year. Trees are on sale, Amazon orders are on the way, you have called in professional help for travel negotiations, and you finally get to wear that beautiful Christmas sweater. Christmas is a time when we celebrate the mercy that has been shown to us. In the midst of the Christmas chaos calendars fill up quickly, and if we aren’t intentional building in time to show mercy to others then it simply won’t happen. As we enter the Christmas chaos we want to encourage you to consider how you can show mercy to others.
Before we get to the opportunities to show mercy to others, let’s pause to consider the mercy that was shown to us in Christ’s coming. At Christmas we celebrate that Jesus came to feed us (John 6:36), to give us water (John 4:14), to clothe us (Isaiah 61:10) and to rescue us by laying down his life (John 15:13). Jesus came into this world to show us mercy (Titus 3:4-6), therefore showing mercy to others is a great way to celebrate Christmas. In light of this, here are a few ways you can celebrate by showing love and mercy to others this Christmas:
10 Opportunities to Show Mercy This Christmas
- Volunteer with Uptown’s Birthday Party for Jesus.
This Saturday is the Birthday Party for Jesus and we are doing things a little differently this year. We will still have the games and crafts, but there is a distinct mercy angle to the event offering opportunities to build relationships with the families of Brookstone School. So far, the volunteer response has been great, but we would love more help. If you’re interested, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Help provide a Christmas meal for someone in need
Did you Know that the Charlotte Rescue Mission puts together a Christmas meal that is offered at no cost to those in need? There is a full spread including ham, potatoes, salad, rolls, vegetables and dessert. This meal is a blessing to many and you can pay for someone’s meal for only $1.97! Maybe you could pay for one person, or five people or even 50. To give to the CRM click HERE!
- Serve a meal for men at Rebound
When you serve meals you don’t just serve food you serve people. You learn their names, you see their smiles. Rebound is a ministry to men who are seeking to overcome drug and alcohol addiction. Learn more about the ministries and then check out this page for a time when you or a group can come and help serve a meal.
- Go and serve your neighbor. That’s right, the one next door
Make them a meal. Invite them over and have drinks in the driveway, throw something extra in the smoker, bake two pies and drop one off, help them bag their leaves… surprise them with love just because.
- Instead of exchanging gifts, give that money away
Is there someone on your list that might be interested in agreeing to give the money you would spend on a gift away to the ministry of their choosing? There are lots of ways this could work, but any amount helps fund some very important ministries. If you are passionate about supporting life, you could give to the Pregnancy Resource Center or it could find its way to the account of a missionary’s account!
- Buy or collect supplies that can be donated to the Dove’s Nest
The Dove’s Nest is a shelter for women and children in need, and they are constantly collecting the essentials to be able to give to those in need (socks, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo etc). Contact them to see what they could use a little more of and then go on a shopping trip and drop it off, or get the word out on Facebook, Twitter, in your life group and organize a small drive giving others an opportunity to get involved.
- Give to those in need internationally
There are lots of great organizations out there that can help you show mercy to those in need internationally. Many organizations have gift catalogs to choose from including food, education supplies, sports equipment etc. Just today, Dave got an email from Compassion International entitled “Free shipping on Goats.” Goats! I love that. Do your homework to make sure the place you are giving to is legit, or ask for recommendations from others, and then bless the nations by blessing a family or a village!
- Make give away bags and keep them in your car
Go to the store and buy some essentials and some gallon sized bags then bring them home and get the whole family to participate by putting together some helping bags. Dave’s family chose granola bars, water, toiletries and Bible verses. We keep them in the car for times when we come across people in need.
- Volunteer for Tutoring at Brookstone after Christmas
Is your calendar too full? How about signing up now to serve later? Tutoring takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:15-4:45pm. If you’re interested in serving as a tutor, contact Eric Maust:
- Schedule a mercy event for your life group
Talk to your life group leaders about taking one of these ideas and doing it as a life group in the Spring Semester. People are in need all year long. Take time to organize others to show mercy together.
Mercy isn’t intended to be an occasional activity in the lives of the members of Uptown Church, it is supposed to be a way of life. But if we aren’t proactive lots of these opportunities will pass us by. Don’t let fear or full schedules stop you. Make time for important things and jump in, it might feel awkward but you won’t grow in your mercy until you get started. Be merciful this Christmas because of God’s great mercy to you. Make a meal for someone, pray with a drug addict struggling to get back on his feet, or tutor a child, and rejoice that the Mercy of God has already come.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” – Titus 3:4-6
Authors: Rev. Dave Kulp and Brittain Brewer (Mercy Intern)