I don’t know about you but I absolutely love Christmastime. Granted, I try to avoid any and all shopping areas during the weeks prior to Christmas day but there’s something so cozy about decorating the tree while listening to Bing Crosby sing “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”. Plus, I have an almost unhealthy love for giving people gifts. I love it! I think it’s partly because I grew up with parents who were ready and willing to give to anyone in need, whether it was sending an anonymous gift or having 20 people in for a giant lasagna dinner. Most importantly, this is the time of year that reminds me of the great gift of love God gave to the world: His Son, Jesus Christ.
Working with women and kids in the local shelter has made me even more aware of how blessed I am and how much I have to give. These brave women often leave home with little more than the clothes on their backs and their little kids in tow. Christmas doesn’t bring much joyful anticipation when you aren’t in your own home with family and can’t afford to get gifts for your kids like you may normally have done other years.
I was playing with a little girl one afternoon at the shelter. I don’t even remember exactly what we were playing with…some matching game, I think. It could not have cost very much. But when I said she could keep it, her face lit up like I had just given her a pony. A little goes a long, long way toward showing a special mum or child that they are cared about.
So, if you were trying to think of ways to spread a little holiday cheer this month, why not consider how you could make the season a little brighter for survivors of abuse?
Try to see what your own community has to offer by way of shelters and anti-abuse programs. You might find easy ways to share a little something with the people in your own town! Something simple like baking a batch of cookies for a local shelter can really go a long way to encouraging hurting people. Toiletries make great gifts, too; it’s always nice to have some sweet smelling shampoo or lotion.
Or look into one of the many, many non-profit organizations which strive to raise some extra funds this time of year so that parents and kids coming out of abusive situations can have something to unwrap on Christmas day. There are also plenty of organizations sending packages around the globe to children who are at-risk for abuse in impoverished areas. In fact, Operation Christmas Child (Samaritan’s Purse) offers a way for you to build a shoe box of little gifts on-line (for those of us…me…who forget to get an actual shoe box each year). That way, you don’t even have to brave the crowds at your local shopping center! And it’s a really great way to teach your kids the joy of giving.