This week signifies the beginning of the 2021 holidays. It begins with Thanksgiving which melts into Christmas and ends with New Year’s Day. Between now and New Year’s Eve there will be invites to peruse, charcuterie boards to assemble, menus to devise and shopping lists to create. And that’s only the food part of the holidays.

The holidays can be so lonely and I wonder what I could do to make it better for just one person. There are plenty of opportunities to buy gifts for families in need through organizations like Angel Tree, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots and location specific ministries. I have done that. But, I admit — that is not my strength. I am capable and happy to take a list to the store and buy the items on the list to drop off somewhere. But if I have to decide what to buy, my mind goes blank. It freezes up like the Artic Circle.

I have also given financially to local charitable organizations that host Thanksgiving or Christmas meals. One Christmas, our family helped prepare and serve food at a Christmas dinner in a homeless shelter. All of that is great and necessary. In many ways, it makes the holidays less lonely.

But what about the person who lives next door? The one whose needs are not financial, but rather emotional. Those are more difficult to discern. There isn’t a form to fill out or a place to go for holiday support. Perhaps the reason my heart goes out to these people is because I found myself there quite often. It isn’t something I share after the obligatory, “Hi! How are you doing? Do you have your holiday shopping done?”

A few weeks ago in my writing, I focused on intentionality. I want to live on purpose, with intention. How can I be intentional with someone this year? What can I do to make the holidays just a little brighter and a little less blue for just one person?

15Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

Hebrews 13:15-16

As we begin this holiday season, it is good to recall these two sacrifices that are pleasing to God: continual praise through Jesus and sharing with those in need.

Who around you is in need? How can your life be an offering of perpetual praise AND a source of goodness for those in need? What is your biggest obstacle to overcome when it comes to generosity with those in need?

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