Over the last five posts, I’ve taken Kouzes’ and Posner’s best practices of a leader and applied them to the Christian way of life. With Christmas just around the corner, the fifth best practice of a leader. Encourage the Heart, fits well with the spirit of the season.
As Christians, we talk about showing love for our neighbor, but how often do we actually encourage the heart of those we encounter each day? I’m not going to waste time telling you how to do this. Most Christians understand how. Usually our problems occur because we mean well but don’t carry out our ideas.
Let me introduce you to a young lady from my church, Emmy. Seven years ago, Emmy’s family gathered at the hospital over Christmas because her grandfather was very ill. Being young, she got bored and started wandering the corridors. She passed by a room where a woman lay in her bed, clutching a stuffed bear and crying. She had no visitors, no cards, no Christmas decorations. That’s when Emmy discovered the loneliness of those stuck in the hospital over Christmas.
Unlike most people, Emmy decided to do something about it. Every Christmas since that enlightening day, Emmy heads to St. Francis Hospital to spread love and cheer to the patients stuck there on Christmas day. She gives each adult patient a card and stuffed animal. Then, she decorates their room, hugs them, holds their hand, and sings to them. In other words, Emmy encourage the heart of people who need it the most on a very special day.
How many teenagers do you know who will give up their Christmas to visit a bunch of sick strangers? Not many, but Emmy’s efforts have grown over the years. Friends and family join her. Others donate teddy bears to this ministry.
This, my friends, embodies Encourage the Heart more than anything I can suggest. What amazes me more is how Emmy demonstrates all five of the leadership best practices through Project Christmas. Wow!
The good news? You can join in on Project Christmas. It doesn’t matter where you live. Pick a hospital or nursing home and visit on Christmas day. I guarantee you will gain more from this than you can imagine, and the blessings you spread to others will glorify the birth of our Savior.
Do you know of someone who encourages the heart in a special way? Share their story in the comments below.
Have you benefited from Emmy’s Project Christmas? Tell us what her encouragement did for you in the comments below.
Read other best practices posts: