On the first Christmas … God gave us everything we will ever need. Without hesitation, reluctance, or reproach, he gave us the purest of gifts: his very own Son. He gave us true and eternal life when he gave us Jesus, the most precious of gifts.
It’s important for us to mirror God’s loving generosity within our own families – not only sharing the story of Jesus during the holiday season, but also encouraging our families to reflect the intent. When we imitate God’s generosity in our own lives, we glorify God and encourage others to do the same.
So, here are 10 simple and practical ways you and your family can experience generosity together. It is our hope that you will set aside intentional, special time between now and the new year to focus on the needs of others and grow closer to each other through doing so.
- Share your generosity story with your family to celebrate all God has done. Consider writing it out or telling it on video, so you and your family can share it with others, too, who want to learn more about your heart for giving. The story of why and how, and even what you give can be a powerful testimony.
- Encourage each family member to think of the most generous person they know. Make an effort some time over the holidays to spend time with that person and ask them to share a piece of advice about generosity. Better yet, invite your generous friends over for a meal, and ask them to share their advice with the whole family.
- Research charities as a family. Then pray together about sending one a special gift during the holidays, perhaps to a mission, ministry, or nonprofit you’ve never given to before. Encourage each person in your family to take time listening to God, asking him to lead them in their giving.
- Reach out to missionaries with cards or care packages from your family. Serving as a missionary can be lonely work, and a reminder from home that they are cared about may be more encouraging than you can imagine. Consider taking it a step further. What if you surprised them with something every month or every quarter?
- Volunteer together at your church or a ministry near you. Some ministries need the most help at Christmas. But remember, too, that ministries that work year-round need help all the time, not just at the holidays. Find one your family can be involved with regularly.
- Offer to match donations. Challenge your kids to give, and tell them you’ll match their donations dollar for dollar up to an amount you’ve chosen. Depending on their age, you may choose to help them develop a plan or let them make their own plan for how they will give the money.
- Bring a sweet treat to your next-door neighbor with a card that shares your family’s favorite Bible verse or some words about why Christmas is so meaningful to you.
- Plan a family mission trip for a week of service next year, near home or abroad. Spend time during any days you have off this month to research where you would like to serve together, and plan together for how you will save or fundraise for your trip.
- Open a giving fund at NCF for each of your kids or grandkids as a Christmas gift this year, and pre-fund it so they can experience granting to a charity immediately. Show them how to sign in to their Giving Funds to research charities that are already approved by NCF to receive their donations or to recommend a new one.
- Make an anonymous gift to a person or another family who your family has found to be in need. This can be a monetary gift, but it may also be a thoughtful gift of something that you know they need.
Finally, whatever you choose to do to share generosity with your family this season, consider documenting it and hanging on your refrigerator. You could even create a scrapbook with pictures and memories from your gifts and service this year and every year after, so that, over time, you will have created a record of your family’s growth in generosity that they can keep and share for years to come.