When the Christmas season comes around, calendars usually fill up quickly with holiday activities. But before you schedule a Christmas party for your Sabbath School, think about doing something different this year -- such as taking your party on the road. How?
Cheer for Children
Load up on children’s Christmas books, and “invade” (with permission) the pediatric ward of your local hospital. Read to the kids and distribute holiday-colored balloons, candy canes, inexpensive toys, etc. If your group talents permit it, lead the children in singing Christmas songs, or present an age-appropriate skit for their entertainment.
Gather at the home of the class member with the biggest kitchen and spend a day baking homemade bread for a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Stick to hearty, whole-grain loaves that will pack plenty of nutritional punch. Make a loaf or two to enjoy on the spot as well. Make the entire project festive.
Take small poinsettias to nursing-home residents. Spread out, spend time talking to people one on one, and ask them to tell you what Christmas was like in their youth. The gift of your time and listening ear may be the most precious gift they receive at this time of the year when they may be very lonely.
Is your class crafty? One group, whose members were skilled in knitting and crocheting, dedicated one evening a week for four weeks to making mittens, scarves, hats, and socks. Homeless shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, and shelters for battered women appreciate such gifts.
If you live in a mild climate and if Habitat for Humanity (or a similar organization) is building a home near you, replace your Christmas party with a work day at a Habitat project. Brighten the day for other volunteers by wearing holiday duds and bringing a boom box and Christmas tapes. Bring enough Christmas cookies to fuel yourselves and your co-workers.
Volunteer as a class to help with one of your church’s seasonal outreach projects, such as delivering presents for Project Angel Tree, which collects and distributes gifts to the children of prisoners.
The Christmas season is insanely busy for most of us. But before you groan at the thought of adding one of these activities to your calendar, remember that these outreach projects would replace your regular Christmas party. You’re not taking on more -- you’re just taking your party on the road.
This article originally appeared in Discipleship Journal. Reprinted by permission.
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists