Friday, November 16, 2007
It's almost that time again. Just a bit over a month away. Maybe you're wondering what to give certain folks for the holidays. Maybe your co-workers or some folks at church, etc.
Well, I just did half of my Christmas "shopping" in one of my usual end-of-year habits: I dropped by a Christian charity and gave donations as gifts.
Let's face it: Most of us don't need another box of chocolates or another bottle of perfume. Or maybe you've always felt that along with the usual gift-giving, something was missing.
I suggest what was missing was a gift to the actual Birthday Boy. It's not our birthday, though we certainly can benefit from the generosity in the air. I like presents. Who doesn't? I give traditional presents. I get them. It's nice to see the boxes and ribbons and bows and to hear the kids squeal!
And yet think of all those gifts that really don't do much other than add more luxury to our lives. (Yes, I'm very guilty of this. I'm also guilty of the "I gotta buy so-and-so a gift" syndrome. Gotta get, as opposed to delight in getting. It adds stress and just results in more Wal-Mart crap being sold.) The stats on how much people go into debt to make Christmas happen, well, it's hardly the sort of thing to be proud of.
Christmas is all about one of the greatest miracles of all time (and non-time). God was born from a human womb, born into the fallen world, born to live and die as a man for the sake of us all. It still gets me all ferklempt.
And that's the the God-Man's birthday. He should get the goodies. He says when we give gifts to the needy, in His name, we give it to Him. He made it simple.
So, go give to the needy for His sake and in someone's name (or just to give). Some organizations, like Samaritan's Purse or World Vision offer holiday gift catalogs and will provide "honor cards" that you can give people to let them know you helped feed an orphan or shelter a family or provided livestock in their names. They have gifts for every budget, from $4 to provide milk to a child all the way to tens of thousands of dollars. (You can build a medical clinic, a school, a home, a church, if you're loaded!)
I also use Habitat for Humanity for my Jewish friends' donation gifts.
And it's easy. All the above have online donation features.
That's just one way. Your community has loads of people who could use help this winter--from a hot meal to a new set of shoes to a bit of shelter from the elements. The opportunities abound for those who want to "wrap up" things that are both really useful and needful as gifts for the Savior born in Bethlehem. Remember him when you shop for toys and clothing and electronics and jewelry.
So, what are you giving Jesus for his birthday?