Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.
– G.K. Chesterton
Do I know the poor? Do I talk to the lonely? When is the last time I actively sought out the poor? These are three questions I ask myself throughout the year, but especially during the Advent and Christmas seasons. I know I am called to minister to the poor and to give my best to them.
A Practical Way to Serve Those in Need
A beautiful way to serve the poor this Christmas is through the gift of Blessings Bags. A Blessings Bag is a little care package filled with everyday items and food that is gifted to the impoverished, homeless, and needy. It is a simple yet profound way to actively help those who are needy in our communities.
Most of the items that can be included in Blessings Bags can be found within your own home. Fill a gallon ziplock bag with the items, or challenge yourself and fill a favorite bag that you own. Reflect upon your own day and the necessary items you use frequently. Compare your needs to the needs of the homeless. Ask yourself, “If I were homeless, what items would I need to live?” Fill your bag with those items.
A Communal Outreach
Include those who live with you in making your Blessings Bags. Ask your roommate what she would like to donate. Invite your spouse to pick out their favorite scarf, hat, or gloves to place in the bag. Tell your children the story of Christ’s birth and that everything we do for the poor, we do for Him. Have them place the items in the bags for Baby Jesus. Blessings Bags are an opportunity to evangelize those within your own home, as well as those within the streets.
How to Make Blessings Bags
Once your Blessings Bag is filled, find a way to give it to someone in need. Call your pastor, seek out a homeless shelter, or keep your bags in your car to have on hand. If you want to make a greater impact, organize an event in your parish for people to donate, assemble, and distribute Blessings Bags.
Here is a list of ideas of items to include in your Blessings Bags:
- Breakfast bars, cereal bars, protein bars
- Bottled water
- Lip balm
- Face towels
- Hand sanitizer
- Plastic utensils
- Gallon sized ziplock bags
- Beef jerky
- Dried fruit
- Bag of quarters (for laundromat)
- Notes of love and encouragement
- Prayer cards of your favorite Saints
- $5 to a coffee shop, grocery store, or sandwich store
How do you bless those in need during the Christmas season?
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Claire Couche is a wife and mother. She graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville where she studied history and theology. She later received her B.S.N. and worked as an oncology nurse before becoming a stay-at-home mother. Claire enjoys cooking, traveling, creating, living life in abundance, and petite French pastries. For more writings from Claire and her husband, Michael, visit their website.