Let’s embrace the atmosphere of love that surrounds us at Christmas and be intentional in the way we love our neighbors! In this post, I’m sharing 7 practical ways you can love your neighbor this Christmas!
I’m excited to be collaborating with some awesome ladies on a series of posts to help you have an incredible, Intentional Christmas! We have created super helpful articles on intentional finance, relationships, planning a smooth Holiday, and more!
I’ve linked to all of them at the end of this post so hang around until the end so you can benefit from our Intentional Christmas Series!
Christmas is that wonderful time of the year, where all of us feel a little more love for our neighbors than any other time. Maybe it’s because we celebrate the birth of the one who gave himself up for us, who gave his life on the cross so we could be free.
A love like that just can’t be found. It’s unique and it’s unconditional! Maybe because we celebrate Jesus’ reckless love for us on Christmas, we feel more inclined to give without reserve, to love without expecting nothing in return.
And this is amazing! What if we all embraced this atmosphere of love that surrounds us at Christmas time to go a step further and love our neighbors in actionable ways?
I think something absolutely incredible would happen. People would come together in a way never before seen.
I need to make a confession, though. I’m a super introverted person and have THE hardest time saying hi to people and starting a conversation. My husband is the one who pokes me and makes sure I’m saying hi to everyone at Church and other settings (Yup, he’s awesome like that ?).
Being introverted gives me a harder time interacting with others, but if I can keep that in mind and strive to be intentional, even though it completely takes me out of my comfort zone, I can do it.
And if I can (sometimes…), there’s nothing that makes me think that you can’t!
I came up with 7 different ways you can love your neighbor this Christmas with not only intent but true actions.
Will you take a look at them and join me on this challenge?
Here are 7 practical ways you can love your neighbor this ChristmasWhen I say neighbor, I don’t specifically mean those that live in your block or your door-to-door neighbor. I basically mean anyone that is not you.
This could be your actual neighbor, your family, and friends, or someone completely strange walking down the street.
Now, not all of these actionable ways will work for any one of these types of relationships. But at least one of them will apply to someone.
You will know in your heart, which one of these steps is appropriate to which relationship in your life. Let your heart be your guide.
This one I’m good at. All I have to do is flex a muscle… or tons of them for that matter! I don’t even have to worry about what I’m going to say! It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Here’s what Teens Health has to say about smiling:
Smiling relaxes the facial muscles and calms the nervous system. Laughing sends more oxygen to the brain. That triggers the release of brain chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals help us feel positive. Laughing can lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and boost mood.
Smiling relieves stress and boosts your mood, and because smiling is contagious, if you start smiling at people, they will most likely smile back!
Guess what you’re doing to your neighbors when you’re smiling at them… You’re helping their body release endorphins and make them feel positive.
Sometimes, all people need is a smile to know that they’re not alone and that things will be ok.
#2. Help where you see the need
Did one of the women in your Church just give birth to a baby and has no family in town? Maybe you could bring her a homemade meal or offer to watch her baby for a couple of hours so she can feel like a woman again, or maybe just crawl to bed and have a much-deserved nap!
Helping others where you see the need doesn’t have to be a world-changing act. It could be a small act of kindness that would affect someone’s day positively.
Or…it could very much be a life-changing act. Providing housing (if you have space) for someone you know who is going through a tough time in their lives and could really use an angel to help them recover.
Helping where you see the need could simply mean being kind and showing love to someone close to you like your husband and kids, or friends, or going out of your way to help them, or even volunteering in a local organization.
#3. More grace. Less judgment
All of us, deep down, have this need to be understood, to be comprehended. We want to be able to make mistakes and go through our own struggles without feeling like everyone thinks we’re a horrible person.
Sometimes, we’re just trying to do the right thing, when we realize we screwed up BIG time. I’m sure that most people don’t just go around trying to screw things up. Yes, some people do, but to some others, it just happens.
The last thing someone needs is you, or me, to be judging their choices or mistakes. They need us to put ourselves in their shoes, to try to see things through their own perspective, and to love them, despite what happened.
They need someone to say “I see you. I hear you. You’re not alone. It will be ok!”
Here’s a passage from scriptures that represents this concept perfectly:
(…)All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said. John 8:7-11
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees were judging this woman, who was caught in the act of adultery. They wanted Jesus to condemn her, but instead, he showed her love. Our job is not to go around condemning and judging others.
Our job, as Christians, is to go around loving them, like Jesus did. Or at least try to show something that resembles that love.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Mathew 22:37-40
#4. Pray for them
Sometimes, our actions don’t need to be seen to be just as impactful on someone else’s life. Praying for others, whether it is in thanksgiving or asking for the Lord to bless them, is a beautiful act of love.
Perhaps, the most impactful one you can do for others. Because when you pray, you’re delivering something on God’s hand, especially when you can’t do anything practical about it.
You’re saying, “God, there’s nothing I can do… will you act in this situation? Will you show your love for this family and bless them in ways that none of us could even imagine?” And friend, He will!
I’ve lost count of how many times the Lord answered our prayers in ways much bigger than what we had asked for.
#5. Send them a card
C’mon, it’s Christmas time. Sending anybody a card with an encouraging message is a good idea.
But don’t just send a card with a premade message… take some time to write a few words that you know will specifically encourage that one person you’re sending it to!
You don’t need to send one to everyone, but chose at least a few people that you know could use some encouragement this Christmas season!
#6. Go deeper in your relationship with them
Some people have been in your life for a while, and you’ve been meaning to go deeper in your relationship with them, you’ve been meaning to invite them over for dinner or to get a coffee at Starbucks (because that’s easier), but you just haven’t gotten to it yet.
Well, now is a great time to be intentional and take 2 or 3 hours from one day of your life to invest in this relationship. You might never know what comes out of it if you don’t try.
Recently, I had this gal that I wanted to meet with to help her out with something she’s trying to figure out, but I kept putting it off because I wanted to be all caught up with work, but guess what?
I’m not all caught up yet and I don’t know if I ever will be. Blogging can feel like that sometimes. There’s always something you can be doing.
So, I ended up deciding that I’m not waiting around to feel all caught up (let’s be real… that might never happen) and I just invited her over. Because our relationship and me helping her are more important than feeling like I have checked all the boxes in my to-do list.
Plus… I have been so blessed to have people help me with several different things in my life, that I want to feel like I can do the same for others. I want to bless them in this way.
And sometimes, we think we’re the ones blessing others but a lot of times we end up being the ones who are extremely blessed in the relationship.
#7. Be a positive influence
There are a lot of ways in which you can be a positive Godly influence on others. It doesn’t need to be anything planned, you don’t need to go through a book or Bible study or go out of your way to influence someone positively.
But as you go about your life, seek to say positive things, to point them to God and to good decisions in a non-judgmental way.
As you go about your life and follow Jesus, trying to live in a way that honors his word, invite people in, let them see it, let them be a part of your life. A part of your mess, your struggles, and always point them to God in the middle of it.
Say yes to loving your neighbors in practical ways this Christmas!
Let’s embrace the atmosphere of love this Christmas. Let’s be intentional and love our neighbors in actionable ways!
How can you love the people around you this Holiday season? Is it by smiling more, helping where you see the need? Judging less and showing more grace and compassion? Is it by praying for them, sending them a card, investing in the relationship or being a positive influence in their lives?
Don’t let this atmosphere of love pass you by without being a part of it! How about we extend it and make it an all-year-long thing?
How do you already love your neighbors? I’d love to hear some cool things you do for your friends, family, and those around you!
Remember the Intentional Christmas Series I told you about at the beginning of this post? Here are all the other articles, written by other passionate blogger friends of mine that will help you have a special Christmas! One of those full of unforgettable memories.
Go ahead and visit these other articles because I can promise you they will be super helpful!