“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat.” (Matthew 25:35 LJV).
The past few years, the LDS church has been trying to Light the World in December–just different ways we can spread the Light of Christ during this special and holy season. Today is “Feed the Hungry” and this type of service holds a special place in my heart.
There are many different ways to feed the hungry this Christmas season:
Bring Dinner to a Friend in Need
In the LDS Church (as well as in many other churches), whenever someone has a baby, a surgery, or is in need, families sign up to bring dinner. We always sign up right away. A few weeks ago, two women in our ward had babies and another had a major surgery. We signed up to bring dinner to all of them.
Invite someone to Christmas Dinner
Last year was the first year we spent Christmas away from family. We were in Texas and I had literally JUST given birth to Evelyn. Thankfully, because of the birth, my family flew down. And thankfully, this year, we were able to go to Utah for Christmas. But, that may not be the case for many. When Thanksgiving came around, because we couldn’t spend it with family, we wanted to invite someone over who was in the same situation. We actually fed the sister missionaries serving in our area. You can do the same for Christmas. Invite someone that you know won’t be with family for Christmas.
Bring Christmas Treats
My mom loved to bake Christmas treats. She would spend a whole day baking pumpkin rolls, banana bread, chocolate covered pretzels, cookies, etc. After dinner, we would help her load up numerous plates, then deliver them to friends, family, and neighbors. This is a wonderful way to spread some Christmas cheer with some delicious goodies.
Donate Food or Serve in a Soup Kitchen
There are so many food drives going on right now for food banks and homeless shelters. A little goes a long way. Donate some of your pantry food. Have your children help choose and drop off the food. While working Concessions for BYU, I was so impressed with our boss. At the end of each game, we were to bag up all the already cooked and/or perishable food. At the end of the night, after inventory was accounted for, BYU delivered all that extra food to a local food bank. If you aren’t in a place financially, you could still offer your time. Help prepare meals, help serve meals to those in need. Bring your older children with you so they can experience service.
Be Santa’s Special Helper
My entire adult life, I have been waiting for this exact Christmas. Growing up, my parents would always ask our Bishop for a family in need. My parents would then become Santa’s helper. They would buy enough food to make a good, hearty Christmas dinner for that entire family. Christmas treats would be added in. Then, they would buy some clothing and a small toy for each kid in the family. We would help wrap up the gifts, load everything in a big box, and then deliver it on Christmas Eve. My siblings and I got really into it. We would dress in all black, including black ski hats. We would sneakily place the box on their doorstep, ring the doorbell, then run like mad away. It always brought us joy as we imagined how the family, especially the kids would react.
This year, we are finally in a financial place, that Justin and I felt impressed to become Santa’s special helper this year. We were given a family we already knew the situation of. Our kids loved their kids. We had gotten close to this family. So, it made this act of service even more special to us. I have been trying to get Rhys more involved with the Christmas season this year–both religiously and commercially. I’ve been trying really hard to teach him how to act like Christ. And especially since he is friends with the kids, I wanted him involved with this service.
So, last week, I explained to him that Santa asked us to be his helpers and give a special Christmas dinner and presents to this family. We went to Wal-Mart as a family. Rhys was very involved in helping choose which ham, which cookies, which Christmas goodies to load the cart up with. Then, when it was time to choose the clothing, we asked Rhys which he thought his friends would like more. Same with the gifts. Both Rhys and his friend love Paw Patrol. So, I had Rhys choose a small Paw Patrol toy for his friend. When we got home, Rhys helped wrap the gifts. He chose the wrapping paper and put bows on each gift.
I didn’t take many pictures because of the intimacy and private nature of this service project.
Since we are spending Christmas Eve in Utah, we decided to deliver everything the night before we flew out. Justin and the kids stayed in the car while I dropped off the box. But, Justin had Rhys watch and count how long it took me to run away. We asked Rhys if he thought his friends would like the gifts. With a big smile on his face, Rhys said, “Yeah!”
I am very glad I have had a lot of opportunities recently to help “Feed the Hungry.” The older I get, the more I enjoy doing service. And, I think that’s really what Christ wanted for us–to love as He did, to serve as He did, to be as He is. That is the whole point of the Christmas season–to celebrate the Light and Life of the World–Jesus Christ. And what better way then to do as He would do and serve?
You can get involved with the #LighttheWorld campaign, too.