Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

How to Shine More Brightly Over the Holidays

26 Comments

How to Shine More Brightly

Jesus called us the light of the world, but sometimes I’m too busy or wrapped up in myself to think much about shining. I was definitely not thinking about it last Friday night while I set my alarm to get up early the following morning to go deliver Thanksgiving meals to needy families.

Whose idea was it to sign up for this? Saturday is my only day to sleep in. I haven’t had a free Saturday in weeks.” My thoughts were spiraling downward when I sensed the Holy Spirit persuading me to pray instead:

“Lord, please help me have the right attitude in the morning. My time is yours, so help me to give it willingly.”

By some miracle the next morning I actually headed out the door on time with my husband, daughter, and a decent attitude. We drove to church, where they gave us directions to a low-income apartment complex and 8 bags full of provisions. When we arrived at the complex, I couldn’t help but notice peeling paint on the doors and graffiti on some walls. This was a step outside of my comfort zone.

I was nervous as we rang the first doorbell, but when the door opened, the anxious face peering out disarmed me. Most of the families we visited consisted of single moms with several kids. Their apartments were small and dark. One woman’s eyes watered when she answered the door. Another asked for prayer. We prayed for several families and invited them to church. I felt good inside as we drove back home.

The blessing I received exceeded by far my investment of a few hours.

I felt ashamed of my attitude the evening before. Those women had great needs and little hope. I had so much, including a Savior who gave everything so I could have new life. How could I have begrudged a few hours of my time?

Jesus, the Light of the World, stepped down from his comfort zone in heaven to meet needs here on earth. He challenged his followers to visit the sick, clothe and feed the needy, and visit those in prison. Jesus demonstrated what love does. Love gives. He calls us to do the same when He says:

How to Shine More Brightly Scripture

What if we let our light shine brighter by giving to someone who can’t give back?

Sometimes the most precious commodity we can give is our time. Only when we give our time can we reach out and physically touch someone who needs it:

  • a sick child in the hospital
  • a scared woman living in a shelter
  • a desperate man on the street

Sometimes we're too busy to think much about shining for Jesus. Here are some practical ways to give the gift of time to those in need.Here are some ways to shine more brightly over the holiday season:

  • Visit someone who is sick or shut in at home.
  • Volunteer in a food kitchen.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Buy and deliver the fixings for a holiday meal to a needy family.
  • Invest some time serving sick children and their families at a hospital or Ronald McDonald House.
  • Give something to a homeless man or woman. Better yet, take them out for a meal.

These are a few ways that we can step out to be good news to our world. Let’s let our lights shine a little brighter this holiday season. Let’s switch our focus from ourselves to God and making His name famous.

Now it’s your turn: Have you had the joy of serving someone in need recently? Does one of these ideas appeal to you?

Joining in with Suzanne Eller’s #livefreeThursday. Suzie’s prompt is “Everything I own.” Also linking with Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace and Truth,  Dance with Jesus, and Coffee for Your Heart.  Check out these communities for more encouragement.

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

26 thoughts on “How to Shine More Brightly Over the Holidays

  1. Challenged by that very same verse in a children’s book that I just received, and it was so simple: You are the light of the world — so sparkle! I read your words with so much empathy (the miracle of a good attitude!), because I’m working up my courage and fortitude to go and sparkle at the nursing home where my mum lives. This is such a dark time for her, and just going there is almost more than I can manage, but this season of the year is such a great opportunity to spread light . . . trusting for grace to sparkle!

  2. It’s so easy to lose perspective, isn’t it? When we’re tired and busy, we can, so easily, forget that all of this isn’t about us. I suppose that’s part of what makes serving such a beautiful thing–because both sides benefit. God doesn’t leave us parched, but He fills us up even as we serve. We’ve taken Thanksgiving meals before, and it sure does give a big dose of perspective. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Betsy. Blessed to be your neighbor at the Thought Provoking linkup this morning. (You get stuff posted a lot more quickly than I do…mine is still the same thing I posted a couple of days ago. 🙂 ) ((Hug))

  3. Such great ideas. When my children are older I want to do more of this stuff. Right now I can’t imagine taking a rowdy toddler to visit sick people, lol! We like to deliver goodies to our neighbors and church family at the moment. That seems to be a win for this stage of life. Great post!

  4. Oh Betsy, yes! We don’t have to look far to find someone who’s in worse shape than we are! And when we have nothing to give, we simply become willing vessels for God to do whatever it is He wants to do for that person, that situation, that grief.

    Amen.

  5. Betsy, you are so open and honest. That’s what we all need to see. I can identify, but with different circumstances. Lord, help me to be more and more a giver of your love and grace to others.

  6. Beautiful, Betsy 🙂

    I love the simple, practical ideas you shared.

  7. Thank you for your words today, Betsy. Take a homeless person out for a meal… that’s right up my alley! I’d love to see others do this. It blesses the giver and the recipient… even though it’s easier said than done. My heart is with the homeless, and I look for ways I can bless them. This is one of those ways. Great post. Bless you sweet friend!

    • Thank YOU for reading Julie. Last weekend my son was in downtown Houston with friends, and the pastor he was with suggested doing that. Turned out is was Terrel’s birthday that day, and they got to take him out for his birthday. Andres was so encouraged.

  8. Wonderful, practical post, as usual, Betsy. Loved your story of the meal delivery as you shared your struggle to give up your Saturday morning and stepping out of your comfort zone. And YES – Jesus did step out of His comfort zone, didn’t He?! Loved that. Pinned and tweeted! Thanks for sharing my post today, and thanks for your interaction and support. I appreciate you so much! 🙂

  9. Our church would do what we called “Thanksgiving baskets”. Families would chip in together to fill a laundry basket with all the ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal, then they would decorate the basket:) We would get anonymous nominations for basket recipients from church members. It was always wonderful to take the baskets to the recipients, and know we helped them in some small way. Thank you for this great reminder before the busy holidays begin. Blessings Betsy!

  10. Betsy, I find this post both convicting and encouraging. You’ve really prompted me to look for ways to serve others this holiday season and to do so with the right attitude! Definitely an upward calling but as we see from your example it is so worth it! Thank you, my friend. I will be sharing this as I go.

  11. Our women’s ministry does something very similar to what Kristine’s does except we use the handled bags from the store. The reusable ones. Recently I served food in a soup kitchen and loved it. Everyone was so kind and appreciative. My plan is to become a regular server there every month. – Grace Place Ministries.

    Betsy, as always your graphics are beautiful to be only outshined by your heart. xxxooo

    • That’s wonderful, Carmen. My daughter and I are regulars with The Birthday Party Project. They put on parties for kids in shelters, and other places. Last week we went to a Ronald McDonald House and it made Monday so much sweeter!

  12. Hi Betsy! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started out on a mission of mercy with a bad attitude, but then God poured His grace all over my ‘yes’ and made it all beautiful. I think that just happened to you too! God was truly with you, as you served His loved ones, His poor. Wonderful!
    I am involved in PADs, which is a program to provide shelter and meals to the local homeless population. It’s very humbling, and I often have a less than good attitude before I go. But grace!!!
    Happiest of Thanksgiving to you and your wonderful family,
    Ceil

  13. These are great ideas Betsy! Thank you for inspiring us all to sparkle more. 🙂 I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings!!

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