In addition to my traditional Advent calendar, this year I've decided to do an Acts of Service Advent calendar as well. It's not anything fancy - just a printed-out December calendar from the computer. It's the ideas on each day, though, that I pray will have more of an impact on the people around me than any piece of chocolate could.
For the entire month of December, I am planning a different act of Christian love on each day until Christmas. It's easy to say this in November, but I'm praying that I will have the determination and perseverance to keep up with it, showing family, friends and strangers alike how important this season is to believers.
So what can you put on an Acts of Service Advent calendar? I've listed several ideas that you can pick and choose from if you decide to make one of your own. It makes me smile to think of how many lives can be touched in these final days of 2016 when we're purposeful in our service to others.
Ideas for acts of service:
* Bake two loaves of bread or cake and give one to a widow or shut in.
* Tape quarters to a vending machine.
* Buy a coffee for the car behind you in line at the drive-through.
* Send Christmas cards for injured soldiers to a military hospital.
* Take cupcakes or cookies to work.
* Leave donuts for your favorite bank teller, hair dresser or mechanic.
* Write a thank you note to a Titus older woman in your life.
* Hide a little money in the toy aisle at the dollar store.
* Make a donation in your favorite pet lover's name to the Humane Society.
* Pay strangers' overdue book fines at the library.
* Put together care packages for your local homeless shelter.
* Leave sticky notes with some great Christmas Scriptures on public bathroom mirrors.
* Offer to babysit while a busy mom goes shopping.
* Organize a cookie exchange and save some back to give to a local soup kitchen.
* Place a Christmas-themed tract in your shopping cart as you're leaving the store.
* Send emails or texts to someone you haven't spoken to in ages just to say hi and Merry Christmas.
* Gather up the youth of your church and find a volunteer opportunity in your town.
* Choose a woman you don't know very well, invite her for coffee and compare holiday plans.
* Give your mail carrier a special thank-you gift for delivering all those packages.
* Take children's activity books from the dollar store to the hospital waiting rooms.
* Tie up a gift bag of Christmas treats and hang them from a neighbor's from door knob.
* Get to church early and leave notes or gifts for the Sunday School teachers.
* Send a friend or family member an old Christmas picture and tell them why that memory is still so special.
* Deliver flowers or plants to a local nursing home or retirement center.
* Inconspicuously leave candy canes at the checkout as you're running errands.
* Visit some of the shut ins from your church and take goodies with you.
What can you think of to add?