Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Season of Giving

Have you ever seen "The Toy That Saved Christmas"? "Christmas is when you get stuff" is one toy's mantra until friends teach him differently.

I know better than that, don't I? A recent conversation with a neighbor made me start thinking about how I live what I believe. She is struggling with celebrating any part of Christmas because of all of the things that it has become. So much of the holiday is commercial and self-centered. Oh, but I do love Christmas! I love the tree,the music, the movies, the smells and picking the perfect gifts for loved ones. I just want to make sure that all of these things are God-honoring in our home.

But, we do make sure that our family keeps the right focus don't we? Sure, we read the Christmas Story (the real one) on Christmas Eve. On particularly efficient years I've even remembered to start recognizing Advent on time. The first thing you see when you walk in the door is our Nativity, not the tree. We always pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. But, is this enough? I'm not so sure. One definition of "focus" is "a center of activity, attraction or attention." It still seems to me that the center of our attention might still be in the wrong place.

I've just started following a great blog, Keeping the Kindgom First. The author is inviting individuals to join in a "30 Days of Giving Challenge". As I read her post this morning I thought about all the little ways that I could give but do not. So I am accepting the challenge. I hope you will too! Giving doesn't have to be expensive, time consuming, or difficult. I've decided to try to find one new way to give every day between now and Christmas. It is my "Giving Thru Christmas Challenge" to you and to my own family. I realize that this is longer than 30 days. I hope that it will become a habit! I will keep you posted on my progress, and I hope you will let me know how you have fleshed out the spirit of giving in your own life.

One caveat though, let's try to make the focus on Christ, shall we? Use the opportunity to point someone to Jesus. Maybe they are a believer and you just want to remind them of the real meaning of Christmas. Maybe they do not believe and you can be a witness in the name of Christ. Maybe you won't even know. But, if someone asks why you have given to them in some way, take the opportunity to tell them that it is the love of Jesus that compels you.

A fb friend posted a status this week that caught my attention. She said that she had been having a terrible day and while in line at a coffee shop another person had paid for her order as well as their own. She couldn't figure out why, but thought it was a nice gesture. I don't know if the mystery giver is following Jesus, but I do know that they got my friend's attention with their kindness.

My act for today? Well, I've been under the weather for a few days, and I had to find something to do from home. So, today I spent some time going to sites to Click for Charity. Here are a couple of links that I gleaned from Keeping the Kingdom First:

What's on tap for tomorrow? I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know how it goes though. How about you? How's your focus this year?

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