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Sharing God’s Wonder Through Service at Christmastime

Bring the gift of service to your community this Christmas season with thoughtful projects to inspire those you lead.
11 min read

The gift of Jesus is really something spectacular to think about, isn’t it? Jesus was born and came to the world to fulfill the promises God made to His children, to all of us. Wow, that love is a miracle.

At Christmastime, we get to celebrate Jesus’ birth in so many ways. There are celebratory gatherings, programs, concerts, and special church services. That doesn’t even include all of the traditions each family in your church community adds to the mix.

All of this can lead to busyness, stress, and sometimes exhaustion. A good way to combat holiday fatigue is to come together and serve others.

Is it more on the to-do list? Yes.

Will your stress levels lower by helping someone else? Also, yes.

God’s amazing story changes lives. The amazing story of Jesus and the love that He brought to our world changes lives. The Holy Spirit leading us changes lives. How will you and your ministry go forward? How will you change lives for others as you serve in new and loving ways?

Options and Flexibility

Options and flexibility are two important words in providing kids and families with a wonder-filled Christmastime service experience. Below are several options encompassing individual, group, church-wide, and family opportunities.

A good way to combat holiday fatigue is to come together and serve others.

As you explore the various options, know that you can choose one, five, or fully customize your plan. Share these experiences with your team, the families you serve, and other ministry areas within your church. These suggestions are in no way limited to what children can do.

As communities continue to come together and show love, the time has never been better to work toward building a positive community spirit filled with the wonder of God.

Christmas ornament hanging on a tree with stockings faded into the background
Image Credit: Chad Madden/Unsplash

Host a Christmas Program

Nothing quite says “Christmas” like kids telling the Christmas story.

Whether your church has been doing full-blown programs for years or this would be the first time to attempt such a thing, an evening when the birth of the Christ child is the focus is a slam dunk—especially at Christmastime.

Your program doesn’t have to be huge, extravagant, or expensive. You just need to figure out what fits best with your children’s ministry.

Maybe the event consists of five children and a donkey standing around a nativity scene in front of the church. Or you and the kids might just wear bathrobes and do a simple skit portraying the events of the Christmas story.

Maybe you host a candlelight Christmas Eve service in which the children sing Christmas carols and play special music. The options are limitless.

The Wonderful World of Wrapping

Gift-wrapping is a delight for some and an absolute chore for others.

Reserve or rent a spot in a local retail area during the shopping season. Have the kids provide free gift-wrapping for weary and grateful shoppers.

Bring in some young carolers and possibly even perform a short drama telling the Christmas story.

Deliver Christmas Trees

Some families can’t afford a Christmas tree, and others don’t have a truck or can’t get out to get a tree for themselves.

Consider working with a local Christmas tree farmer or supplier to buy several trees. Then deliver them free of charge to those who would like one.

Load up the kids and the trees and start spreading the yuletide joy.

Free Vending at the Hospital

No one wants to be in the hospital at Christmas. Instead of enjoying eggnog and snickerdoodles, people are dealing with waiting rooms, uncertainty, and potentially scary news.

Have the kids in your church help relieve the burden of those at the local hospital waiting rooms by putting quarters or dollar bills in resealable bags and laying them on tables or taping them to the sides of vending machines.

Include a note to point people to the Christ child and possibly also your church.

Another idea is to have the kids create simple craft bags including coloring books and boxes of crayons to share with the children in waiting rooms.

Joy at the Drive-Thru

Perhaps you have been the beneficiary of a kind person who paid for your meal at the drive-thru of a fast-food restaurant.

Turn this into a blessed extravaganza by working with a manager who is willing to let the kids from your church pay for the food for every vehicle in the drive-thru for a couple of hours.

If this is cost-prohibitive, simply start a pay-it-forward style chain by paying for the person behind you and saying a prayer that it continues! Every driving member of your church community can get involved on a specific date to really spread joy.

Go Caroling

Caroling can seem a little strange in our day and age. We are inclined not to answer our front doors, and we install cameras to make sure we’re safe. As carolers, we can feel odd approaching someone’s property unannounced.

But once the door opens and the children begin singing, the discomfort fades and we almost go back in time as both the carolers and the recipients enter the joy of old Christmas favorites.

Home cameras can actually be a super fun way to leave a musical message for neighbors who aren’t home. Imagine their joy at seeing who is at the door and enjoying the song from wherever they may be.

Hand out flyers advertising your upcoming Christmas service(s) while you’re out.

Provide Free Firewood

Firewood is a blessing to families with fireplaces. It’s not a huge expense, but it’s also not free. It’s often a hassle to purchase, transport home, and lay in for use.

Why not help the children of the church purchase cords of firewood and distribute those to homes in the neighborhood around the church? The kids can invite the residents to visit your church on Christmas Eve.

Angel Tree

Use the official Angel Tree network or create a similar experience on your own.

The children in your church select an ornament from the tree and go shopping for things the kids in the families in need have asked for at Christmas.

To add a special twist to the event, ask the children if they’d like to concentrate on a certain group—like kids in foster homes, children of inmates (or the inmates themselves), or children with a deployed family member in the military.

Cookies for Line Workers

Police and firemen get lots of cookies at Christmas. Why not also bless the people who respond to emergencies of a sort your children may feel intensely? Power outages.

Electric line workers have an extremely dangerous job and are almost always called out in the worst of the winter storms.

They brave the harshest elements to restore heat, light, and the blessed Wi-Fi to homes and churches. And yet few of us think to thank them.

Why not change that this year? Have the kids of the church make cards and sweet goodies for the line workers and then deliver them with a Christmas carol of thanks.

As a healthier alternative to cookies and sugary foods for this or any of the similar activities you see here, consider providing things like packaged bags of dried fruit or nuts.

Serve a Local School

Is there an underserved school in your community? Arrange to get your children and adults inside the school with paint cans and brushes, and completely renovate the teachers’ lounge for a local, struggling school.

Imagine the wind you can put back into the sails of these teachers when they find out that kids and families in their area are supporting them enough to give their time and money to brighten their days.

If December is just too busy for a project such as this, consider decorating a beautiful card for the school and including a voucher for one free lounge-painting day, to be redeemed anytime between January 2 and March 31.

You can do something similar for several of the ideas in this list.

Shovel Driveways

Do you live in a snowy region? One thing about snow: it doesn’t shovel itself.

Bundle up the kids, hand out snow shovels, and descend on the sidewalks and driveways of the elderly, shut-ins, and other members of the church or community.

Encourage a glad, happy atmosphere as they work, letting them know that this is how they can give a Christmas present not only to the people inside the homes but to Jesus Himself.

Little girl donates canned goods during food drive
Image Credit: SDI Productions/E+/Getty Images

Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Furry friends, kids, and Christmastime just go together somehow. Work with your local Humane Society or animal hospital to get a list of projects your kids can do in a single workday.

Maybe the dogs need to be walked and the cats played with. Maybe the shelter needs its sidewalks de-iced or its front lobby decorated with Christmas cheer.

Help at the Laundromat

Laundromats can be dirty and cold, and they are places that people would probably rather not be at Christmastime.

Why not bless a whole coin-op laundry center full of people by having the kids (with their adults) hand out free detergent and stacks of quarters for the machines?

Consider doing so every hour for a Saturday. Sing Christmas carols and hand out invitations to your Christmas services while you’re at it.

Cheer for Special Olympians

Take the whole children’s department to a local Special Olympics event and cheer wildly for every athlete who competes.

Make posters and bring air horns and be those crazy fans who these brave Olympians may only rarely have.

Feed the Families at a Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald houses are oases of comfort and peace for the children and families who stay there.

Children are at one of these houses only because of a serious medical condition in their family, and they’d much rather be at home instead.

Mobilize the kids at your church to plan, shop for, prepare, cook, deliver, and serve an amazing meal for the children and families at your local Ronald McDonald house.

Bless a Retirement Home

Contact a local nursing home or memory-care facility to see how the children and families in your program can enhance the residents’ Christmas experience.

You might decorate the lobby, common room, or cafeteria with festive Christmas cheer. Consider making decorations for all of the doors in the building.

If you can, make it a spa day for the ladies—doing their nails, hair, and makeup. Prepare and hand out hand-made Christmas necklaces, bracelets, or ornaments.

Make and Deliver No-Sew Blankets

Plan a gathering for the kids to assemble easy, no-sew fleece blankets, or provide take-home kits for families to create together. Then arrange a time to deliver them to a homeless shelter, children’s home, or retirement community.

Project Linus is a charity that provides blankets in the name of everyone’s favorite blanket-toting, Peanuts character.

Host a Coat Drive

Invite the kids to lead the church by asking the congregation to bring coats, warm clothes, boots, winter socks, etc., which you can then take to a local charity.

Consider offering these to your whole congregation first, as you may not be aware of those in your midst who are cold and can’t afford to warm their families up.

Host a Parents’ Night Out

This project has the kids and adults of your church working together to allow the parents of the community to go Christmas shopping—or just to have some peace and quiet—without the kids.

The children of the church would lead in the activities—teaching games, leading crafts, passing out the popcorn for a movie, monitoring video games, leading caroling, and otherwise bringing the party for the guest kids from the community.

Participate in Operation Christmas Child

An activity that the kids and families of the church are sure to love is to pack one or more Operation Christmas Child boxes.

This is an annual initiative that connects kids in the U.S. and Canada with kids in faraway nations who might not otherwise hear about Jesus. This event gives kids in North America a chance to give while giving others a chance to receive.

Plan an event that brings all the kids of the church together to pack and deliver as many boxes as possible, and then track every shoebox with the â€śFollow Your Box” option through Samaritan’s Purse (additional charge for tracking).

Deliver Treats to Shut-Ins

Coordinate with the church office to identify the shut-in members of the congregation who are open to having some visitors.

Get the kids together for a baking party. Pile into vehicles to deliver your goodies to people who might not be able to receive such things any other way.

Consider providing some gluten-free and peanut-free options for people who might need them.

Give a Goat

Consider asking the kids to donate their money toward the goal of purchasing one or more goats for families in developing nations.

There are several mission organizations such as World Vision, Compassion International, and Back2Back Ministries that have gift catalogs that directly connect kids here to kids there. This connection is made through purchases like animals, medicine, and water wells.

Children have limitless compassion for kids just like them in need in other cultures.

Take the opportunity to educate your kids on the circumstances of children in these other places. Who knows—this might just be the spark God uses to raise up missionaries to His cause!

Here are a few options for you:

Join the Efforts of an Amazing Ministry

We’ve already mentioned several ministries by name, and there are hundreds more to choose from.

It’s quite likely that your church sponsors one or more missionaries around the nation and the world. Why not take the opportunity to introduce your kids to the work they’re doing? Maybe you could host a video chat with them to find out how they’re doing and how the kids could bless them this Christmas.

Here are some other missions to consider:

Blessings

Whichever way(s) you choose to introduce service projects to your community, know that by blessing the people you serve, you will be blessed in return. When you share the wonder of the love of God with people in your church, community, and even the world, you will find a joy that is hard to describe.

Allow me to share this blessing for you this Christmas season:

May you feel the loving, wonder-filled presence of God in the days and weeks to come.

I pray the joy you share with others returns to you and fills your heart, giving you the needed energy to share Jesus and His story with all those you serve.

May your coming days be filled with rest and the knowledge that you are making a difference.

Thank you for all that you do!

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  Updated on October 14, 2022

About the Author

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  • Your Ministry Spark Team is made of ministry volunteers, leaders, and experts who work with David C Cook. We’re passionate about helping others know, love, and follow Jesus. And, we have a big heart for those who serve the kingdom—that’s you. Together, we can do this!

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