Friday, December 1, 2017

Sharing Kindness

Hello, my friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! God has been teaching me so much about being thankful. My life is SO, NOT perfect! In fact, there is a lot of Mess is in my life. I have relationship problems, health problems, money problems, spiritual problems and the list goes on, but ya know what? God is SO MUCH BIGGER than all of my problems. When my focus is on Him, my problems don’t look so overwhelming. Remember what Philippians 4:19 tells us?

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NIV

Believe me. He has. Provided. My. Needs and more! Honestly, I am so blessed. That’s part of that “being thankful”. I really have much more than the bare necessities of life. Most of us do if we will admit it. So let’s share with others!

I’m not talking about giving all you have, I’m talking about Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, or what I call (and what I’ve seen called) RACK. RACK is a simple concept. Just like the name implies, you randomly go around doing kind things for other people (strangers mainly). Many things can cost you no money at all, like: opening the door for someone, carrying out groceries, bringing your neighbor’s garbage can back up, raking leaves for a neighbor, etc. Other things may cost a little, such as: leaving a baggie of change on a vending machine in a hospital waiting room, leaving candy canes on cars in a parking lot, handing out candy canes to cashiers as you shop, taking hot chocolate to bell ringers on a cold day, taking cookies or treats to the police department, fire station or hospital on Christmas Eve, etc. Then you might do one or two things that cost a little more money, like paying for the meal of the family in line behind you, donate needed items to a shelter or another organization, etc. Whatever you decide, do it from a heart of love and gratitude, because God has given us more than we deserve!

One of the things I love about doing this is that it always reminds me of this passage:

“’For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:35-40 NIV (emphasis added)

When we serve others with a heart of love, we are serving Jesus. I love that! So this is one more way I can serve my Savior, be kind to others and hopefully spread the Gospel all at the same time.

Now that I’ve told you what RACK is, let me briefly tell you how my husband, Cecil and I have made it a part of our Christmas traditions.

A couple of years ago I was looking on Pinterest for Christmas decorating ideas. I came across several Advent Calendars. I began to see people doing Acts of Kindness on their Advent Calendars. Slowly they evolved into RACK Calendars. I wanted in on this. My husband, Cecil and I have always enjoyed doing for others, especially at Christmas. Last year I tried to do something every day. I didn’t meet that goal, but it was so satisfying to help others. Just to put a smile on someone’s face by handing them a candy cane and telling them “Merry Christmas!”

Last year we were able to put together about 20 toiletry/necessity kits. We gave them to Promise House here in Dallas. They help homeless/runaway teens, pregnant teens, and teen moms. We took some new supplies to a teacher-friend to help her start the 2nd semester fresh. We gave a few $5 gift cards to the staff at our doctor’s office since they have practically been a part of our family for 15 years. We also passed out many candy canes with smiles and wishes of a Merry Christmas.

We enjoyed it so much last year, that we hope to do some of the same things this year. If you are thinking about doing some Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, I have a few simple suggestions:

¬ Plan ahead — decide when you will do each of your RACK activities I think it’s hard to do them spur-of-the-moment.
¬ If you have children or grandchildren, get them involved.
¬ Take pictures to record what you’ve done, how you did it and for memories.
¬ I have provided printables below for you to use —
✸RACK Ideas: 2 pages of ideas grouped by expense
✸Small RACK Cards: Attach to candy canes, small baggies of coins, etc.
✸Large RACK Cards: Attach to larger baggies of coins or gallons size baggies of toiletries, etc.
✸Candy Cane Bookmark: Punch hole in top, run ribbon through hole, tie to candy cane
¬ Most of all — Have fun!!!

If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear them!
Merry Christmas!

Living in Grace,

I have 2 boards for RACK’d info:
­ Random Acts of Kindness for Christmas — content by other people
­ RACKMondays — My content