On the heels on my last post, a great find I am using this year for my little ones is this: Truth in the Tinsel. You can make an ornament every day. I know that I will not do that portion of things, but I love the way the story and activities are laid out. Besides that, it seems to really add a depth to the Christmas story for little ones that most of the advent calendars do not.
Let me be honest here, one of the reasons I struggle with Christmas is simple: all the extra stuff. As a mother who is totally learning home organization, managing my home and the stuff in it is many times my #1 struggle. If Satan attacks me, he's always going to use my lack of skill in this area in attempt to defeat me. I don't like the fact that my family has more than enough almost all of the time while others just want food or a warm coat. Wrapping my mind around the fact that "Christmas is for kids and they should get all that they want" just isn't happening. I'm not saying Christmas should not be a fun time for kids to look forward to, but I am saying that it does not feel right to provide above and beyond for wants when many do not have needs. Christmas in my mind's eye is not only about God stepping into our world, but also a time to remember to give to someone in need.
Practically I want to learn to aside a portion of the new gifts we receive to give back to God. Is this not a practical way to do what men and women of the bible did in the tithe and firstfruits? I'm not talking about regifting gifts you did not want, but giving away gifts you just might like to keep, and teaching your children to do the same. Is not this what we are charged with when we are commanded to teach these things to our children as we walk and talk and go about our day? Whether I am able to give off the top or off the bottom (new or used) says a lot about my walk with Christ.
We give gifts because the wise men gave gifts to Christ. He was recognized as a king. But he was a lowly baby born in a stable, laid in a manger, in a town that had no room for Him. They gave gifts to the lowly and needy king. As God, He had no spiritual need. As a man, He was not rich by earthly standards. They gave to honor Him.
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." 2 Cor 8:9
"Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys." Luke 12:33
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’" Matthew 25: 35-36, 40
Some ways to give to the needy:
- Sponsor a child in need at your church or pick one up one off an Angel Tree in the mall or at Chick-Fil-A.
- Consider giving honorary gifts to friends and family by giving to Compassion.
- Sponsor a child from Compassion.
- Buy products from Mercy House Kenya. This is a house that exists to help pregnant women, making a safe place for delivery and providing care for them after babies are born. The idea reminds me of my bff from college. See their vision statement here.
- Buy products from Dayspring that benefit Mercy House.
- Consider Amazima Ministries.
- Check out this list of shops to buy from. The only link that no longer works is the Rahab Ministries link.
Let me know if you know of other ways to give gifts that give back.