December 13, 2015

News You Can Use: Inviting Others to the Feast

The Christmas season affords us much-needed opportunities to reconnect with family and express our love. We connect over meals, celebrations, and exchanging of gifts. Spending time and giving gifts are two of the major love languages, so these are appropriate for this season when the greatest gift of love was ever given.

In the midst of all our preparations, plans, and parties, it can be easy to forget those who have no voice in our lives, but for whom God is greatly concerned. Jesus once told the host of a dinner, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,  and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14, NIV)

So, while it’s appropriate for us to express love for our families, friends and neighbors in the Christmas season, it’s also appropriate for us to express love to those who cannot love us back. There are many ways to do this, and many organizations who serve the poor offer special opportunities for both giving and serving in this season. If you’re looking for a way to express love to those who might really need a touch from Jesus this season, here are a few ideas:

Serve the under-resourced locally. Many local soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters are especially crowded this time of year, as the weather gets colder and the poor find it even more difficult than usual just to get through each day. Check out some options in your area – many offer opportunities for serving that are appropriate for families to take part in together.

Help those in need globally. There are many options for helping those who are in need globally, and many great organizations through which you can express God’s love through giving. Here are just a few:

  • Help those who are persecuted for their faith through volunteering for or giving to organizations caring for them, such as Voice of the Martyrs ; Open Doors, or International Christian Concern . The gift most coveted by persecuted Christians around the world is the gift of prayer; each of these sites provides ways you can pray for the Persecuted Church on an ongoing basis.
  • Provide for those who lack basic necessities such as food and clean water. World Vision has an online gift catalog allowing people to donate animals that provide food and income on an ongoing basis; provide clean water for families and villages who lack access to healthy water; contribute to the education needed to help break the cycle of poverty and protect girls and women from human trafficking.
  • Give the gift of the Good News to those currently beyond its reach, through organizations like Wycliffe Bible Translators.

However you decide to bring Christmas to those in need this year, be assured “You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”