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‘Tis the Season to Serve Like Saint Nick

I’m so excited to announce a 4-week series for each Monday until Christmas: ‘Tis the Season! I’ll be joining Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker and Mindy @ The Purposed Heart in discussing the true meaning of Christmas. I hope you’ll join us!

 

Father Christmas.
Samichlaus.
Sinterklaas.

These are all names for the man we know today in North America as Santa Claus. Before he was dubbed Santa Claus, however, he had another name.

A jolly, portly man who fulfills every child’s wish replaced the humble servant thrown in jail for his faith. A man who prances into every toy store smiling while people pay to sit on his lap replaced the man who begged for people to not tell anyone that he gave gold to the poor children.

This man was Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas became the symbol of Christmas to encourage others to look outside themselves for a season and do good for the world – a breath of fresh air during some of the hardest times in history. Saint Nicholas did his gift giving secretly, under cover of night. He didn’t want to be seen while doing good, as he wanted those he helped to give thanks to God.

Saint Nicholas was a man of valor and honor. He was a man who loved the Lord and sold his life to the service of his Heavenly Father through his care for the poor and needy. Saint Nicholas was generous and faithful. He was a servant lavishly blessing those in need so that they might see and savor Jesus Christ!

As we enter this Christmas season, the call to represent Christ well folds out before us. If you are a Christian, you are being observed. You are being watched.

This fact humbles me.

I am reminded of Charles Spurgeon’s words in answer for why we are here as Christians (I have quoted this once before during our marriage series. You may remember.):

The answer is – they are here that they may “live unto the Lord,” and may bring others to know His love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed; as ploughmen to break up the fallow ground; as herald’s publishing salvation. We are here as the “salt of the earth,” to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life … Let us live earnest, useful, holy lives, to “the praise of the glory of His grace.

As I think about this sweet season, known for its generosity and care for the poor, I want to remember Saint Nicholas. Furthermore, I want to look past Saint Nicholas at the one for whom he loved to point – Jesus Christ.

Regardless of your stance on Santa Claus, to celebrate Christmas with him or without him, let us not miss point. Our tendency this time of year bows toward selfishness. Let it not be said of us! May we guard against the looming selfish tendencies,  and point to the selfless work of Christ who came as a babe, died on the cross, and then, rose from the grave victorious for our sins!

Like Saint Nicholas, I want to illuminate Jesus Christ this holiday season, and I want you to as well. Therefore, I’ve put together a practical list of serving options for you to consider.

5 Serving Ideas to do as a family this holiday season:

1. Provide a meal to a friend.

Do you have a friend who is walking through a difficult season?

  • Maybe she is in her first trimester of pregnancy (or the last weeks).
  • Maybe this is the first holiday season he will celebrate without his beloved spouse who passed away this year.
  • Maybe it is a single guy friend who doesn’t have family nearby.
  • Maybe it is a single mom trying to make ends meet.

Ask yourself, “Who can I bless with a nice home cooked meal?”

Have them over for a meal, or take a meal to them. I know anytime a meal is provided to me I am so, so grateful.

Check out our Freezer Your Way to Freedom series to find great ideas for meals to share and give!

2. Surprise a person most forgotten.

Think about your daily life. Who is it that you see or use the services of daily that you take for granted?

Some ideas to get your brain moving:

  • Mailman
  • Librarian
  • Janitor
  • Trash pick-up
  • Young man who bags your groceries

Make a treat or purchase a gift card for them to just say thanks. Package it nicely and leave it where they will find it.

We plan on making treats for our librarian and mailman this Christmas season, but while writing this, I have a specific young man from the grocery store that I would like to bless. Do you feel the Lord’s prompting? Respond. You won’t regret it.

Just so you know, this serving option makes me the most uncomfortable. So if you’re shaking in your shoes. I’m with you. But God has called us to serve, and this is one of the many ways that we can put to death fear of man and worship of self to bring honor to our Lord, Jesus Christ.

I will be using Healthy Holidays: Slightly Indulgent Sweet Treats (free e-book available only in December!) for my baking needs.

3. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter

Serving meals at your local soup kitchen seems like the most obvious choice, but yet, it’s often the most overlooked. Maybe because it has become so common, we’ve grown accustomed to it and fail to notice the significance. However, taking a couple of hours out of your Saturday to serve those who are desperate for you will no doubt cause your heart to swell with compassion. It will show your children the realities of this world, and in some cases, the consequences of poor choices.

Can’t serve a meal? Then, donate coats to the mission. Give money, if you can.

The truth is that these people need our care regardless of the circumstances that landed them in this grave state. Share the love of Jesus with them. They are desperate for Him – just like you.

4. Give a gift to a child.

Every mall has a tree somewhere inside of it filled with little teddy bears with names of children you may never meet. Nevertheless, these children need you.

They could be children of parents who can’t afford to bless them this Christmas; or their parents are in prison; or they are simply at risk. They need love. This is a season when we can show this love in abundance.

So choose a child off the tree and shop together for this sweet little life, one made in the image of God, as a family. Bless them the way you would bless your own child.

5. Set aside an entire day to love your kids.

Turn off the computer. Leave the phone on the counter. Hit the off button on the TV. Snuggle up close and enjoy the little years. Talk about the boy troubles. Kiss the Boo-boos. Make a holiday treat.

It is so easy to forget those closest to home during this season of serving. It can go by so fast. We can have wonderful intentions when it comes to serving others, but to the neglect of our own home. Let this not be said of us. Love on your husband and kids without distraction. They need you.

What about you? What are some ways your family plans on serving others this holiday season?

Be sure to check out the other ladies participating in this series:

Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker – Tis the Season to Serve–With Little Ones
Mindy @ The Purposed Heart – 7 Practical Ways to Serve Others This Christmas

Check out the other posts from Intentional By Grace in this series:

‘Tis the Season to Celebrate Even When You Don’t Feel Like Celebrating

‘Tis the Season to Sing Really Loud Even if You Can’t Carry a Tune

Want more information on the history of Saint Nicholas? Go here.

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15 Comments

    1. It is so easy to forget, but isn’t it so much more rewarding to stop and just sit down with your baby? I had to just sit and stare and Sam yesterday. Watching him play and discover was far more fascinating than whatever it was I was doing…I’m grateful for God’s sweet and faithful prompting to enjoy these little years.

  1. LeighAnn, you rock my face off. Seriously. 🙂
    We plan on reading the story of St. Nicholas to Annie every year in lieu of “doing Santa.”
    When I was growing up, we were always taught to give gifts to the people who offer services….and every year we give a gift to our mailman. 🙂

    1. I think Saint Nick is fascinating. We will certainly do stories and studies (age appropriate, of course) each year with our little one. We’re so enjoying starting our traditions!

  2. Love this! Thank you so much for the wonderful suggestions! Especially #5…we get so busy, certainly more so this time of year, doing so much that we forget about the most important people in our lives. And as a new blogger, I have had to work hard to get over the “new bloggeritis” that sucks you in. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Mary, I’m with you! It is easy to get sucked in. I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m working on my daily routine right now! I’m trying to plan and see what works best for my family. I plan on sharing it soon. 🙂

  3. Such a great list! I know my daughter would love making goodies to share with the mailman and whoever! We did cookie plates not long ago and she’s asking to do that again. Growing up we helped serve a meal to the homeless/needy on Christmas day a few times. It was awesome.