So this year, J. L. and I have been interacting with the local homeless community a lot and we LOVE it. If you ever want to look at the face of Jesus, just go downtown. He's there. He's dirty and smelly and stuggling to keep warm, but He's there--He's everywhere.
This year has been particularly difficult on our local homeless community after the flood destroyed Tent City (a local community of tent-dwelling homeless who gathered there for fellowship and protection) and the incredibly unpredictable weather has made finding shelter a little harder than usual. So we wanted to figure out what we could do to love on them other than cash handouts and/or beefing up our volunteer efforts.
So here's what we've decided:
We're going to make "kits" and hand them out to homeless. We thought we'd include the following items to try to help little that we can:
- "Hotties" -- you know those little hand/pocket warmers? They're really inexpensive when you buy them in bulk and they last for about 8 hours. I realize that this isn't a huge source of heat, but it's something.
- Space Blanket -- If you've ever been hiking or camping you're familiar with these.
- Socks -- I never thought about this until I started actually talking to a lot of homeless people, but can you imagine wearing the same socks everyday for weeks/months on end? You have no idea how excited they get about clean socks.
- Crackers or some other snack
- An encouraging card
|I once spent the night out on the concrete for a homlessness awareness activity. It is miserable.|
For those of us who follow Christ, I want to encourage you to not be afraid to actively show others that you're not celebrating the season for the commercial part (not that you're not allowed to, I love Christmas), but to celebrate the birth and love of a Savior who died so that you may have eternal life and eternal love. We need to SHOW that love. Not that you should brag or do it for recognition, but maybe give your friends a card that says "In Lieu of a Christmas Gift: I helped build a well in Africa/fed a homeless family/etc. God bless you this Christmas and may the Spirit of love and giving warm your heart." Very few people are selfish enough to throw a fit about you "sacrificing" their gift for someone who really needs it.
Remember, in the end you get what you give--no matter how big or how little.
Is there anything you've done that you're hoping will catch on as a Christmas gift for those who need it? I'd love to hear about them!
"The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" - Matthew 25:40