Christmas is a time for family. A time to feel loved. A time, not only for gifts, but to spend time with those we love the most. It’s also a time when people give the most to others in need. Whether it’s buying gifts for orphaned children, donating old jackets and clothes to homeless shelters, or giving to a charity, many people do their best to help others in need.
These things are fantastic ways to help others and I’m not here to tell you to stop doing them. They are absolutely vital to programs and charities that serve the poor.
But I want more.
This year, go beyond charity and beyond even volunteering.
Be with those in need.
In other words, start to see people in need as real, living and breathing people. People like you and I. People with lives. People with problems. People with loves. People who have made mistakes in their life. People with nowhere to turn. People who are lonely and desire relationship. People who need love or just a simple conversation or just a person to show that someone gives a damn about them.
Recently, my students wrote thank you letters to donors who are generous enough to give them scholarships to attend Cristo Rey. Many of them wanted to meet their donors and talk with them so they knew why someone would do such a good thing just for them. They want to see the faces of those who helped them. (Update: Benefactors visit Cristo Rey in the spring to meet their students).
So, this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Christ, remember that Jesus spent his time amongst the lowest of the low in society and loved them when nobody else would. Remember what a little face-to-face conversation can do for someone. Talk with those in need. Sit with them and ask them what their name is and say, “How are you?” and mean it and listen to what they say. Serve people as people. Show you care.
*Image from knguyenpvn.
Note: Check out 12for12K’s “12 Days of Christmas Homeless Push” for more information on what you can do this Christmas to help others in need.