Written by Lexi Baysinger. Media by James Menk.
The holiday season is coming up quickly. It is during this time when people, especially Christians, find themselves looking for ways to serve people. Now is the season of people thinking of the less fortunate. Christians are called to be the servers of those around us. Ephesians 6:7 tells us to “serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” This call is not meant to be answered only during the holiday season, but it seems as if during this time, it is easiest to find ways to live out the call to service.
Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and nursing homes are all places that are looking for volunteers year-round. Many soup kitchens struggle to find help throughout the year, but when the holidays arrive, some find themselves turning people away because they become overloaded. While this may seem like a great thing, it would be better if this rush was spread over all 12 months of the year instead of compressed into a month and a half. Don’t get me wrong, in no way am I condemning the action of serving during the holidays, I just want to challenge people to keep that attitude in mind throughout the year.
Nursing homes become filled with the ringing voices of off-key carolers during the Christmas season. During the other months of the year, the halls are quiet and visitors are few and far between. What we seldom remember is that the residents are there all year round. Most of them don’t have the luxury of going home or even having relatives close. It’s very important to keep them in mind because one day some of us may be in their position and wish for company. God has told us to care for each other; if we constantly neglect the elderly who live in nursing homes, is that really caring for each other? On the soccer team, we sometimes go to the nursing home and I’m not typically a fan of it. As a shy person, I find it hard to just strike up conversations with the residents, but I see how much it brightens their day and I try my hardest to get over my dislike of nursing homes and be present with people I encounter there.
Homeless shelters typically hold drives for donations at this time of year. It’s usually the only time, besides the beginning
of the school year, that we put any thought towards homeless shelters. Soup kitchens have the advantage of being partnered with churches in some cases and nursing homes may house a relative, but most people do their best to stay away from thinking about the fact that thousands of people are forced to sleep outside every night. So, during the winter months, we rely on the shelters to put together donation drives for coats and gloves for the people without homes. But I don’t think it’s enough. I think that there are a lot of people being left out and we shouldn’t wait until we see a flyer advertising the next clothing drive to help them.
As the holiday season approaches and the fire to serve people starts to burn inside you, I challenge you to not let it die. Christians are called to bear each other’s burdens and help those in need. It’s a call that exists for the entire year, not just during the holiday season. Look at your gifts and see what is the best way for you to serve. It can be anything from ringing a bell to cooking someone a meal. Keep the call to serve in your mind and heart; those you serve aren’t the only ones who benefit.