This is such a wonderful time of year. People draw near to one another, celebrate the season and give of their blessings. There is a special hope that is ignited and felt by all. Sometimes, that hope can be shadowed by other, less joyous, elements of the Christmas season.
Every year, Americans spend over $450,000,000.00 (that is billion, people!) on Christmas gifts. While these have the potential to brighten a day or fill a need, all too often they border on being less about quality and conveying love and more about fulfilling a felt obligation and furthering a consumer culture.
What if we decided to do something different as a family? There is an organization called Advent Conspiracy. You can learn more about them at adventconspiracy.org. They give a great message of sacrificing what would be spent on one gift and giving to help a real need in the world. Over the next few weeks of Advent, we are going to provide an opportunity to do just that.
Just to be clear, we are not asking you to give more than you would normally give during this season. What I am proposing is that you sit together as a family, talk about those who are less fortunate, make a conscious decision as a family to sacrifice the money that would have been spent on one gift, and use that to advance the Kingdom. Instead of spending money on something that someone may or may not need — give of yourself: time, talents or just get creative with how you show your appreciation and admiration to those around you.
If you choose to partner with us on this, the resources collected are going to our friends at the Haitian Impact Christian Mission (HICM). Though our friends at our sister church in Dargout are doing well, they are pouring themselves out in the surrounding community. They have delivered over 1,600 packets of food and supplies to surrounding families to help with some of the most basic needs in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. They are also flying in doctors to do medical clinics that hope to reach another 3,000 people. There is a real opportunity to do something great and come alongside those serving on the front line of a humanitarian crisis.
Again, we know this a special time of year and certainly don’t want to stand in the way your existing plans. However, this may be an opportunity to move beyond consuming as a family and into giving this holiday season. During the remaining Sundays in Advent, there will be envelopes in the backs of the chairs in the services. If you would like to take advantage of the teaching time as a family, please feel free to place your special gift in the offering plate marked HICM.