7 Ways to Spread Joy Over Christmas Break - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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Faith Everyday Living
December 22, 2017

7 Ways to Spread Joy Over Christmas Break

Finals are behind you, and 3 and a 1/2 weeks of blissfully free time stretch is out in front of you. After you get all caught up on your sleep, your Netflix queue, and visiting with beloved friends back home, how else will you spend your time?

Once you put a big check mark next to “carve out extra Bible study time” on your winter break to-do list, you’ll be more inspired than ever to spread the joy of Christ, the true reason for the season, with others. Here are some great ways to let your light shine its radiant warmth on those who may need your healing touch this winter.

1) Use your special talents to help the homeless.
Are you a computer geek or an accounting whiz? The National Coalition for the Homeless advises that there are many creative ways to make a difference in the lives of others who are going through a very difficult time. “There are many volunteer needs outside of serving food or helping to clean or rehab buildings . . . what skills can you offer?”

2) Organize a book drive for children in need.
If finances don’t allow you to sponsor a hungry family’s monthly box of groceries, you can still make a huge difference for some of America’s poorest citizens. Family-to-Family’s “Books for Life” program makes it easy for you to gather up your own unused books and get them into appreciative hands. “For families struggling to put food on the table, books are an unaffordable luxury,” explains the website.

Collect books from friends and family, and ask your local libraries and bookstores to donate. Raise money to cover shipping, or ask a local business to cover your costs as an in-kind contribution. Family-to-Family will hook you up with an outreach worker in one of the communities it serves who will find deserving new homes for your used books.

3) Brighten a forgotten senior’s day.
The holidays can be especially lonely for senior citizens who live in a nursing home environment. As many as 60 percent of these elders don’t receive outside visitors, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Not only are these seniors much more likely to become depressed, they are also more likely to die sooner than those who have regular contact with the outside world. Grab your guitar, your colored markers, or your Bible, and go spend an afternoon sharing yourself with a senior who may never forget your kindness.

4) Care for homeless pets.
Even though most animal shelters are closed over the holidays, dogs still need walking and cat litter needs scooping. Find a nearby private shelter run by a rescue group that relies heavily on volunteers to handle these duties. The core group of devoted who always gets stuck with most of the work will be delighted to have an extra pair of hands at the Hiking for Hounds or Socializing the Cats programs.

5) Deliver meals to the ill, disabled, or elderly.
Put your culinary skills to work prepping, serving, or delivering food to people in your community who are unable to cook for themselves. Reach out to Meals on Wheels or local groups such as Project Open Hand to explore the opportunities to serve your homebound neighbors.

6) Hold a coat drive to provide warmth to those in need.
Bring Matthew 25:36 to life (“I needed clothes and you clothed me”) by following One Warm Coat’s easy six-step program. Take on the Coat Drive Ambassador role, and receive all the instructions, free tools, and resources you need to stage a successful one-day coat drive with the donations going to the nonprofit agency of your choice.

7) Delight a child in need with a new toy.
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program offers dozens of ways to get involved, but one of the easiest and most fun is to donate a toy at one of the drop locations in your area. You won’t find a published list of appropriate toys; Toys for Tots would rather you purchase a new toy guided by what would delight your own sibling, niece, or nephew. Your donation helps the program fulfill its primary goal: “To deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”
And delivering a message of hope to others at Christmas, and every other day of the year, is exactly what you’re all about.

If you’d like to learn about the biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your career goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.