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Merry Christmas Ideas

Christine Yount Jones

Our elves have been hard at work to help you pull off a bright and cheery Christmas season.

To me, Christmas is the most enchanting time of the year. For a brief moment in time AND even if only for a second or two, the world stops and pays homage to our Savior. People's hearts are a little more open and perhaps a little softer to the things of God. Use these 6 ideas to proclaim God's love in sending his son to a lowly stable and to celebrate the wonder of the season.

CHRISTMAS OUTREACH

There are many ways to share God's love with others through outreach at Christmas.

Here are a few:

Adopt a Friend -- Donate time and friendship to seniors and disabled adults through your Social Services department.

Coats 4 Jesus -- Collect winter coats and distribute them to homeless people.

Angel Books -- Hang paper angels on your church's Christmas tree for needy children. Have church members buy a book for each child.

Parents' Day Out -- A church in our town placed a door hanger on our door around the first of December last year. They invited parents to finish up shopping or gift-wrapping while dropping off their children for a fun Saturday morning at the church. Kids enjoyed a video, cookie decorating, crafts, hot dogs and chips, and a closing Christmas play.

SEW JOLLY

Involve people of all ages in making items that'll bless people at Christmas.

Warm Up America! Project -- Have "those who can" teach "those who can't" -- to knit and crochet, that is! Then work together to create knit blocks.  Assemble the blocks into warm blankets for homeless people. For more information on the Warm Up America! program and to obtain free simple knit and crochet patterns, send a self-addressed, stamped #10 envelope to Warm Up America!, P.O. Box 9, Gastonia, NC 28053-0009.

Kidsacks -- Make sleeping bags for children in battered women's shelters. Thanks to the Kidsacks organization, you can put together a kid-sized sleeping bag in a giant sewing bee. Add a heart-shaped pillow and a teddy bear, and kids have something special to call their own. For more information, contact Kidsacks, 26612 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, OH 44145; 216-871-1913.

Operation Christmas Child -- Our church participated in the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child program last year, and it was one of the most meaningful Christmas activities for many of us. You can involve your entire church or just your children's ministry in giving to children around the world.

Samaritan's Purse delivers gift boxes to children in countries such as Bosnia, Rwanda, and Romania. Simply fill a shoe box with small toys, school supplies, hats, gloves, or wrapped hard candies. Then send each box to Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607. For more information, call 800-353-5949.

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