How are you spending the Christmas holidays?

To us, Christmas is a season for merriment and celebrations. But, since Christmas is about how Jesus came to earth to save and to serve, we can follow His example and spread love this season.

Christians are called to be salt and light—to add flavor to the world and to be channels of God’s light. How can we live out this calling and make our Christmas celebrations lit? Being socially responsible is a good place to start.

So, aside from spending the holidays on endless parties and an extended me-time, why don’t you consider getting involved in an outreach activity or a social responsibility project?

Social responsibility starts from the heart.

The usual perception about social responsibility is that an organization or an individual has an obligation to act for the good of society. This means taking action on injustices such as poverty, discrimination, and oppression.

Ideal as it may sound, this idea, however, is often challenged because our natural human tendency is to be selfish or prideful.

It’s hard for some to invest time, energy, and money in these causes when we also want a lot of things for ourselves and for our families. And when we do give, we sometimes take pride in our giving. Consistency in giving or in living out a lifestyle of generosity can also be challenging.

This is why we need to start with a heart that honors God. Loving God brings about a genuine love for the needy and an internal concern with injustice. This concern moves us to action, either through financial support or volunteer work.

Jesus is the best example of social responsibility.

Jesus’ life of sacrificial service is our pattern and model for social responsibility. Jesus showed us through His life and death how seriously He takes injustice. He modeled a life that identifies with the poor and the oppressed. He healed the sick and extended His hand to the discriminated. He lived and died for all, regardless of race, gender, or social status.

We can show the same divine kindness to the others, especially the poor and needy, when our understanding of social responsibility is grounded on God’s action in Jesus Christ, who chose to show us mercy and love even when we turned our backs on Him.

When the gospel truth hits our hearts, we can journey with the marginalized like Jesus did.

Start with one.

Maggie Doyne just graduated high school when she spent time volunteering in a children’s home in India. There, she saw the plight of some of the poorest children. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to help everyone, but she also knew that she could make a difference in one person’s life.

She helped one child go to school and later on, used her savings to help more children. Now in her 30s, she’s been able to build a children’s home, a shelter for women, and a school in Nepal. But all these started with one thought: forget the other 80 million; start with one.

The problems in our society can get overwhelming, but we can all manage helping one. Researching on this article, I was amazed at how kids as young as five years old were already putting up their own foundations and charities. But their efforts started small. It was the need of one homeless person, one child slave, one orphan that fueled their desire to make a difference.

Jesus ministered to the crowds, but He also valued that one lost sheep, that one Samaritan woman, that one tax collector called Zacchaeus. Even with all the people in the world, He also set His eyes on you.

Who is that one person you can help right now?

Find like-minded people.

My first small group would organize an outreach activity every year in a small community church. We would give toys to the kids, bless the families with groceries, and prepare food and a simple program.

Christmas is such a busy season that we can easily forget this activity, but there’s always someone in our group who would remind us that this is not just a tradition but a way we show the love of Jesus. Their passion fuels my own passion. Maybe you can also begin an outreach activity by inviting friends and family who have the same heart to help others.

What are the organizations around you that you can be involved in? What opportunities are already there that you can take part in?

Warning: There are two extremes in social responsibility.

Christians can go into extreme ways when it comes to social responsibility. On one hand, we can be passive and unconcerned observers of injustice in the world, because we think that God’s kingdom is sure to come in its fullness anyway.

On the other hand, we can also become so focused on our present social responsibility that we start to think that the coming of God’s kingdom depends on us alone.

We should remember that our role is two-fold: wait on God’s kingdom and advance it. Our hope lies in Jesus’ second coming and His final triumph over all evil and injustice in the world. While we wait, we are called to bring others to Jesus by proclaiming the gospel and loving them in tangible ways.

This Christmas, may we all make time to express our faith through our generosity and love for those in need.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.

1 John 3:17,18