Christmas is about Christ - celebrating His birth, the reason for His coming, the joy of our Savior - and the obsession over presents and new things was beginning to overshadow everything else.
So we started to think.
Giving gifts to each other is fun - but whose birthday are we really celebrating anyway?
How could we give gifts to Jesus, and what would that look like?
Matthew 24:31-46 gives a pretty good answer to that question.
I'll quote just a few of those verses here, starting with verse 37.
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed
you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or
naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?"
And the King will answer and say unto them, "Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you
did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me".
Around the same time we were pondering this, my friend Tracy posted about what her family does at Christmas, and it sounded just like what we wanted to do.
We explained to the kids that Christmas would look a little different for our family this year, but that it was going to be amazing to give gifts to people who really truly have needs, some of them a matter of life and death. Our three oldest kids were completely understanding about the situation and excited about the possibilities that we had for giving. The little girls, of course, don't understand yet and can't remember the past Christmases anyways. We didn't eliminate all gifts for each other - but we limited it drastically. At least compared to the past few years.
After perusing several catalogs and websites for weeks in advance, we got ideas of what we wanted to purchase and from which organizations. Not all of them are equal in the benefits, of course. And not all of them are equal in they way they manage their $$$ donations, either....so do your research. We prefer that the majority, if not all of the money we donate goes to the actual mission, not just administrative overhead costs.
So Christmas afternoon, when the little girls were sleeping and not being a distraction, we sat down with Corban, Marissa, and Annika, and Grant made a spreadsheet to help track who was spending how much on what.
Here's what we got from Gospel for Asia:
- 2 pigs
- 1 BioSand Water Filter
- 4 Rabbits
- 1 Lamb
- 2 Mosquito nets
From Samaritan's Purse we got:
- Dozen chicks or ducklings
From World Vision, we picked gifts that were multiplied by 12 or 5 (due to donations from manufacturers and corporations), which made the total value of the gifts enormous!
- $100 for emergency food supplies - value = $500
- $70 for Clothing - value = $840
- $35 for Medicine - value = $420
- $50 for School Supplies - value = $600
Our total spent = $471.
Total worth of items = $2576
That felt amazing. The kids loved picking out gifts that were important to them and spending their own designated money how they saw fit. Encouraging giving is one of the best things we can do for our children, I think.
I just wanted to share this to maybe inspire others to reconsider their own mindset about Christmas and dare to break free from the societal norm a little.