Editor's note: This article first published in the December 2019 edition of "The Courier," a newsletter of First Baptist Church Hamilton.
By Pastor Dan Clemens
I’ll be honest. I’ve had trouble writing this article for the Christmas Season. I want to be positive about Christmas, but there is so much negative. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” I cringe at what Christmas has become. Let’s take Christmas back!
I came across this article about a “Random Acts of Kindness Calendar,” and it helped me focus:
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism of the Christmas season – you know, the gifts, the shopping, the parties…. And while it’s certainly OK to let yourself indulge in some of those things, it’s also good to take a step back and celebrate the meaning of the season. One way you can embrace this is using a Random Acts of Christmas Kindness Advent Calendar!
The idea is to create your own Christmas advent/preparation calendar. (I’ve edited the list a bit and added a few ideas of my own.) Pick 24 items from the lists below and fill in your own calendar to help you “Remember the Reason for the Season!” Here are some suggestions that were made:
Random Acts of Christmas Kindness ideas for kids
Here are some sample acts of kindness for kids and families that would be great on your kindness advent calendar. Some might be able to be completed by the child alone, and others will need to be done together with mom or dad.
• Make a card for a soldier (we have used Operation Christmas Cards for Troops Overseas in the past – read the pinned Facebook post for exactly how to do it, and note that this needs to be sent out by December 1st!)
• Bake a treat for a neighbor, policeman, or fireman.
• Choose one toy to donate.
• Write your teacher a note about how they help you.
• Do a chore for someone.
• Let someone go ahead of you in line.
• Help a neighbor with a chore or errand.
• Clean up litter outside (with gloves and with a grownup!).
• Visit a long-term care center (with mom or dad) and have dinner with one of the elderly residents.
• Hold the door open for someone.
• Write a note to your friend.
• Make Christmas cards for your neighbor.
• Give someone a nice compliment.
• Call Grandma or Grandpa and say hi.
• Tell jokes to someone who needs a laugh.
• Tape packages of popcorn to a RedBox machine.
• Hand out candy canes to people (with mom or dad) in the grocery store parking lot.
• Help put all the carts back in the cart corral in the grocery store parking lot.
• Make a present for a friend (anything from a beaded bracelet to an ornament to a drawing!)
• Donate a few books to the library.
• Set aside food to donate to the food bank (with mom or dad’s help).
• Cook (or help cook, depending on age) dinner for the family.
Random Acts of Christmas Kindness ideas for adults
If you’re an adult looking to do some of these random acts of Christmas kindness on your own, here are a few more ideas:
• Donate food (or money) to a food bank.
• Leave an extra big tip at a restaurant or coffee shop.
• Knit a scarf for someone who is homeless or in a shelter.
• Do a major purge and donate all the items that are in good shape (avoid donating ripped/stained/broken things – you’d be surprised how much time people in donation centers spend sorting through unusable things).
• Adopt a child to buy gifts for at Christmas.
• Volunteer to read stories at the library, in your child’s classroom, or at a family shelter.
• Create a candy wreath so your neighbors can snip a snack whenever they walk by.
• Pay for the person behind you at the coffee shop.
• Buy a hot chocolate or coffee for the Salvation Army bell ringers who stand outside all day.
• On Christmas Eve, head over to an all night drugstore like CVS or Walgreens and bring the cashier a little surprise (like a box of chocolates). It’s no fun working on the holidays, and it’ll brighten their night!
• Set a box outside the house with drinks and pre-packaged snacks for the mailman, UPS guy, and FedEx guy. With all the packages they deliver throughout December, they’ll appreciate the small token of gratitude.
• Leave extra coupons at the grocery store right next to the item to unexpectedly help other shoppers.
• Donate blood.
• Do you have small businesses that you frequently visit? Leave them a great review on Facebook or Yelp.
• Tape candy canes and happy notes in random places.
• Send a surprise present in the mail to someone who wasn’t expecting it.
• Make a freezer meal dinner for a new mom or a stressed out friend.
• Babysit a friend’s kids for free to help her/him out.
• Ask to speak to a manager at a restaurant or store – and give a giant compliment about the store and/or one of the employees. So often people only speak to a manager to complain, so going out of your way to compliment the store or employees is unexpected and awesome.
Acts to keep Christ in Christmas
• Have a nativity/creche as the center piece of your home Christmas decorations.
• Read daily Bible passages from the lectionary (Source: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/daily.php?year=A#id1)
• Use Christian-themed ornaments on your tree
• Go Christmas-caroling to shut-ins or at a nursing home
• Start Dec. 1 reading a chapter in Luke every day until Christmas … you will finish the whole story of Jesus on Christmas Eve.
• Commit to be in worship every Sunday in December.
• Give a “Christmas gift for Jesus” through the Christmas Offering.
• Attend the Christmas Eve Eve (12/23), or Christmas Candlelight Eve (12/24) service with your family and bring a friend.
• Find out who Santa Clause (Saint Nickolas) really was. (youtube.com/watch?v=BgpFPSMYCm4)
You can make your Christmas more Christ-centered and kind this year by committing yourself to act like Christmas!
Be the Light,
All members of FBC Hamilton are invited to have their photo taken and be included in a new church directory that will be available in print and online. Professional photos will be taken Nov. 5-9 and Nov. 27. You must schedule an appointment time online or find a sign-up sheet at the table in the connector near the Family Center after Traditional Worship and before Modern Worship each Sunday in October. Everyone gets one complimentary 8x10 and a directory. You will have the option to purchase bigger photo packages. Internet signups are at www.ucdir.com. Click "photography appointment" and use church code Oh2247 and the password is "photos".
First Baptist Church Hamilton has a lot planned for this month as we transition from the massive heat wave that hit our region at the end of September and beginning of October. The leaves are beginning to fall and the cooler air is moving in. What a great time of year!
At FBCH, we begin the month with "brinner" — breakfast for dinner — as a fellowship opportunity that begins at 5:45 p.m. today, Oct. 2. It's also "crazy hair" night for First Kids. Starting Sunday, Oct. 13, Thomas Ellison will lead a Financial Peace University class that is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. each Sunday for 9 weeks. Information on joining the class is available on our website here. You'll need to sign up.
Later in the month, on Wednesday, Oct. 30, we'll have our annual Harvest Party, which takes place at the same time as the meal this year. You are invited to make soup/chili and compete for a prize. We'll have plenty of places to set out your crockpots and bowls. We'll also have a dessert bake/cook-off. We're offering prizes for the best individual child and family costumes as well!
If you are part of a group within FBC or as an individual would like to host a table for the trick-or-treating during the Harvest Party, we could always use more! Talk to Katie Simpson and let her know your class or group will host one. You will be responsible for decorating it as well as purchasing the candy or fall-themed item you will hand out. Please plan on 250-300 kids.
To see this month's Sunday worship sermon titles and get more information on events happening at and through FBC, check out this month's Courier. It's available in print at church or a digital copy is on our website.
It's here! Beginning in early October, the children's ministry wing of the first floor of First Baptist Church Hamilton will be under renovations. We've spent some time moving things out of the rooms, and beginning next Sunday, they will be unusable. The other half of the first floor will still be in use during construction. The following classes will move: Three-year-olds, (Room 106), pre-school and kindergarten (Room 115), 1st and 2nd grades (Room 111), and 3rd-6th grade (Room 110). Parents and guardians will receive instruction on where to take their children. when they sign in at the security computers on the second floor. Questions? See Katie Simpson or Claire Metzger.
If you are interested in taking a group trip to Israel with Pastor Dan Clemens, the date has moved to March 2021. Allowing 18 months to plan will make it possible for more people to go, greater discounts are available, and better accommodations can be secured. If you are interested, please contact Pastor Dan. An information meeting will be schedule soon. Keep watching for details.
This fall, FBC will be having a Breakfast for Supper meal from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. on each FIRST WEDNESDAY of the month. This will be the only Wednesday meal we offer. Please make a reservation on the Connect Card next Sunday for Wednesday, Sept. 4.
All First Baptist Church Hamilton attendees are invited to a labor Day Picnic after the Modern Worship Service on Sunday. Sept. 1. This is an indoor picnic that will take place in the Family Center/gym. The church will provide hotdogs and hamburgers and drinks. You are asked to bring two or three items per family that may be shared with everyone to enjoy fellowship with each other.
First Baptist Church Hamilton members Jim and Shelee Ewen are leading a Discipleship Class that is open to anyone. It takes place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday nights at the church. It is designed to help edify and encourage believers in their intimate walk with Christ. Attendees talk about their personal experiences and read the Bible for understanding and connection.
Those who wish to join should go to Room 205, which is located in the hallway behind the family center stage.
First Baptist Church Hamilton has officially started its three-year journey in The Gospel Project. We are reading the entire Holy Bible together as one church. The youth are studying what the adults and young children are studying or hearing about. Our community groups are discussing it and we're talking about it in our homes, as families.
On Sunday, Aug. 18, we kicked off the journey with "God's Good World" and we read Genesis 1: 1-23.
Pastor Dan Clemens said the main point of the lesson multiple times. He said, "In the beginning, GOD." God is one God, and He is one in three persons.
In the beginning, God.
Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
In the beginning, God.
The church has a memory verse for this week:
"For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through Him and for Him." ~ Colossians 1:15-16
For those who are interested in participating with a Gospel Project Bible, you may purchase one online. We suggest visiting smile.amazon.com and choosing First Baptist Church in Hamilton as the organization to support. The Gospel Project Bible also available at christianbooks.com.
Also during the sermon on Sunday, Pastor Dan encouraged people to download the 99 Essential Doctrines from GospelProject.com. It's a 45-page PDF file.
What are the 99 Essential Doctrines? They are the theological concepts of the Christian faith as they appear in Scripture. Here's a sample:
We hope you will join us every Sunday and Wednesday to continue through the Gospel Project as one church.
Beginning this Wednesday, Aug. 20, children (babies through 6th grade) are invited to join First Kids for an hour of fun every week! From 6:30-7:30 p.m., those who attend will learn the Bible and how to be of Christian service. They'll hear Bible stories, memorize verses, play games, do crafts and more. The kids will earn Bible bucks for certain activities that they can spend on items in the First Kids store!
We are asking that folks register their child to get a T-shirt (they earn bucks for wearing them). Questions? Email Katie Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org.