Saturday, December 31, 2011

#98 Compose a Top 10 list

Give the gifts of words by writing down a Top 10 list for someone you love. The list can be the top 10 things you appreciate about that person. Be descriptive and specific. After you make your list, don't just stick it in an envelope and hand it to the person. Take a little time, sit down, and actually read it to the recipient. And be sure to make eye contact. You won't want to miss the person's reaction. Praise and encourage people whom you appreciate.

Proverbs 16:24 "Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."

Friday, December 30, 2011

#11 Give your good stuff to Goodwill

Donate items with the tags still on them.

Proverbs 11:25 "The generous will prosper."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

#19 Smile

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." - Mother Teresa. Giving someone a smile doesn't cost you a penny, but it can make someone else feel like a million bucks.

Proverbs 15:30 "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

#46 Take it to the bank

Start a savings account specifically for the purpose of giving. Then raise money to put in the savings account every month. Make a goal of how much money you want to save for the year. When Christmas rolls around next year, pray and decide how you will give all of the money away. Then start saving for next year.

1 Peter 4:10 "God has given gifts to each of you...Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#33 Volunteer at a homeless shelter

AFTER Christmas. The truth is, homeless shelters, food banks, and other places like them probably wish they had as much volunteer help the rest of the year as they do during the holidays. So while you are in the spirit of the Christmas season, arrange another day in the future to serve.

Matthew 10:42 "If you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."

Monday, December 26, 2011

#82 Happy day after Christmas

December 26. It's the harsh reminder that all good things must come to an end. What if we didn't let the letdowns win? Christmas is the reminder of the hope we have in Christ. And this gift of hope is strong enough to carry us through the other 364 days of the year. So wish people a happy day after Christmas, and when they ask you why, tell them who put that hope in your heart.

Psalm 130:7 "Hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is unfailing love."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

#27 Read the Christmas story

It sounds like a no-brainer, but have you ever let an entire Christmas season pass by without opening your Bible and reading the actual story of the birth of Christ? Right before you indulge in all the gifts is a great time to read the Christmas story. It never fails to put things into perspective. Try adding this tradition to your Christmas morning. Take turns reading the story each year.

Luke 2:10-11 "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

#54 Say Merry Christmas outdoors

The way to enjoy winter is to play in it if you can. Write a message in the snow - "Glory to God and peace on earth" - for passersby to see. Or on Christmas Eve, take a moment and flap your wings in the snow (or sand), remembering the angels who celebrated Jesus' arrival.

Luke 2:13-14 "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others - the armies of heaven - praising God and saying, "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."

Friday, December 23, 2011

#34 Be patient

with your (annoying) relatives

Go out of your way to show love to a particular relative whom you have a hard time getting along with. Chances are, they will respond in a positive way. And pray an extra dose of patience when dealing with your family this Christmas.

Ephesians 4:2 "Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

#75 Pick up the tab

Imagine how good it would feel to be on the receiving end of a gift like this. If you have children, picking up someone else's tab is an opportunity to demonstrate to them how much God has blessed your family and how fun it is to be a secret blessing giver.

Psalm 40:8 "I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#30 Dig between the couch cushions

Collect loose change around the house for the Salvation Army kettle.

Romans 12:13 "When God's people are in need, be ready to help them."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

#60 Lose your cool

Have a blast caroling door-to-door with friends.

Colossians 3:16 "Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts."

Monday, December 19, 2011

#89 Park in the back

Keep close parking spaces open for people who need them.

Galatians 5:22 "The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: kindness."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

#84 Surprise the angels

Provide gifts for children through the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program.

Proverbs 3:27 "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

#80 Get out of the house

Visit a shut-in, someone who can't drive, and offer to take them out for an afternoon. If they need to run some errands, take them to the store. If nothing else, drive through nearby neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights, and afterward, maybe grab a meal.

Hebrews 10:24 "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works."

Friday, December 16, 2011

#78 Pay it backward

This Christmas send a card or thank-you letter to a person who has impacted your life. Let your mentor know how he or she has helped you become the person you are today.

Jeremiah 29:1 "For I know the plans I have for you...plans for give you a future and a hope."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

#73 Give a goat

You can purchase a goat for a family in a foreign country who needs it to provide milk, cheese, butter, and other food. There are different relief organizations whose Christmas catalogs feature goats, chickens, and cows instead of cardigans, CD players, and remote control toys.

Psalm 104:24 "O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. the earth is full of your creatures."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

#92 On the 12th day of Christmas... true love gave to me...
Work your way from one to twelve, coming up with creative gifts for each day for your spouse or other loved one. With each day's gift, include the appropriate lyrics. The gifts don't have to be expensive. Creativity and thoughtfulness score the highest on this assignment. Make someone feel special. Make it a Christmas that both of you will remember.

Philippians 4:8 "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable...excellent and worthy of praise."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#53 Be a babysitter

Offer a couple with young children a much-needed night out.

1 John 3:18 "Let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions."

Monday, December 12, 2011

#52 Bake an extra dozen

Don't just make that batch of sugar cookies for your family party. Bake an extra dozen and drop them off at your friend's house or the house of the new family on the block. This gift has a unique personal touch.

Ephesians 5:16 "Make the most of every opportunity for doing good."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

#49 Give yourself a silent night

Turn all the cell phones off. Turn off your television and hide the remote control. For one night, resist video games, computers, and CDs. Try your best to create a silent night. You can even turn the lights off and light some candles around our house. By choosing a silent night, you are giving yourself the chance to experience peace away from the noise this Christmas. Is God speaking? Am I listening?

Luke 2:20 "The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

#41 Give a memory

Instead of filling your house with material possessions this Christmas, you and your family could give each other a memory. Take the money you would spend on Christmas presents and put it toward a special family getaway.

Psalm 107:43 "Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord."

Friday, December 9, 2011

#44 Leave a message

Sing a Christmas song on someone's answering machine. Sing it loud; it doesn't matter if it's off key. You'll bring a smile to someone's face and have a fun time too. It's a little thing, leaving a silly message to let someone know they are being thought of at Christmas. But for some, that will be a welcome reminder.

Philippians 1:3 "Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

#43 Invite a friend to church

Find out what special events might be happening at your church that you would feel comfortable inviting a non-Christian friend to. Share your faith this Christmas.

Isaiah 60:1 "Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

#40 Use your hands

Instead of buying a Christmas gift, make someone a gift this year. Perhaps you have a special skill or hobby that you could put to use in creating a more meaningful gift than just anther sweater from the store. Put your heart into it, and your gift will be one to remember and cherish.

Proverbs 16:3 "Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed."

Taylor Bell Choir and Taylor Ringers Concert

Last night, our family enjoyed a Bell Concert at one of the local universities. It was beautiful to hear Christmas music played on the bells. And best of all - it was FREE! It's amazing the things you can find to do locally that don't cost anything - only the gas money to drive there.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

#36 Give till it hurts

True giving should require some sort of sacrifice. If the gift you are giving to your church or an organization doesn't hurt the wallet a bit, give it a second thought. Is there something you could go without that might cause some inconvenience but allow you to give more?

Matthew 19:21-23 "Jesus told him, 'If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.' But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.'"

Monday, December 5, 2011

#79 Throw a Birthday party

Get your entire family together and plan a birthday party for Jesus. Don't make it a last-minute thing. Put the same time and effort into it as you would if you were planning a family member's party. Decorate the house, and best of all, bake a cake! Make sure the kids help in the kitchen. You can even sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. Before everyone helps blow out the candles, pray as a family and thank God, who "loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son" to die for all of our sins.

Luke 2:11 "The Savior - yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

#9 Be an angel of the night

Do you know someone who needs a job done? Someone who can't take care of it him - or herself? Be an angel of the night, and surprise someone with a secret good deed.

Titus 2:7 "Be an doing good works of every kind."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

#16 Pray for our soldiers on active duty...

... and those whose families are spending Christmas without them.

Colossians 4:2 "Devote yourselves to prayer with...a thankful heart."

Friday, December 2, 2011

#6 Say Merry Christmas to a complete stranger

Don't save your Christmas cheer for friends and family only.

Galatians 5:22 "The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: joy."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

#3 Give Thanks

For the month of December, we are going to add in a devotional based on the book by Matthew West "Give This Christmas Away". This book has 101 ways to take the focus off yourself and focus more on those around you. His song by the same title has this chorus:

What if we all just give this Christmas away
If there's love in your heart, don't let it stay there.
Give this Christmas away
And your life will be changed by the gift you receive,
When you give this Christmas away.

So, today's focus is on giving thanks. We just came off the Thanksgiving season when we are focusing on the things we have and the blessings God has given us. That season of Thanksgiving shouldn't stop when the holiday has passed. Matthew says in his book that we are called to be thankful for even the problems. By doing this, you are saying that God is at work in the midst of the difficulties.

Colossians 2:7 (TLB) "Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done."