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‘Tis the season to be giving

It’s December 13, just 12 days till Santa’s, Jesus birthday. Christmas is a time where we spend hours and hours in mall parking lots, shopping centers, and on line purchasing gifts for friends and family. It is a fun time, an exciting time, but also a stressful time for lots of individuals and families. Christmas has for many of us been a time where we spend money that we don’t have on gifts that we or our loved ones don’t need. It turns from a time of generosity to a time of competition and credit card debt. This is not the way it was supposed to be. This is not what Jesus meant when he said “love others.” That is not loving, that is just pride.

This year  I am suggesting we give and spend differently. Why not spend a little less on others who don’t need what they are getting and spend more on gifts that go to people in need. I am not saying don’t buy gifts for people, I am just saying why not tone it down a bit and change the way we give. Not only will it be a blessing to you, but it will be a blessing to your friends and family who get a bit less this year so that others can get more. Here are a few suggestions of how this could look.

1. Draw names within your family or friends. Each person purchases one gift, with a price limit for one other person within their family or friends. That way everyone gets a present and everyone gives a present. If there are kids in the family then figure out what would be a few great presents for the kids and have everyone go in on that. Make sure you stick to the price, unlike Michael Scott in the office Christmas party episode where he bought Ryan the i-Pod.

2. If you get a person who doesn’t care what they get for Christmas then why not get them something unique, something that will make them feel like their gift is going beyond themselves. An example of this is an IJM freedom gift, or the gift of clean water through Charity Water. These gifts and gift cards provide an opportunity for the person you are giving to to designate money and resources to a project that they believe in. My dad has done this for our family for the past 2 years and we love it. My daughters love buying pigs or chickens for families through World Vision.

3. Another thing you could give this Christmas is time. Weather you are in Seattle, WA or Winnipeg, MB you can volunteer your time doing something local in your community. The gift of time is something that many people don’t receive, and it is free to give. This doesn’t even have to be done before Christmas, it can be done all year long.

On a practical side, all these organizations that you would be giving to or supporting offer end of the year tax receipts. Here are a number of other org’s that you can give to this year.

The Cambodia Rock Foundation, One Days Wages, and us over at Steps of Justice.

Much love to you from us and Merry Christmas

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