i love Christmas.
no, i really, really love it.
like, a lot.
but i feel like sometimes - oftentimes - it becomes a time of dwelling on the things we want, the things we may receive, and, yes, the things we'll give, but only because it's what's expected.
maybe not just for the joy of giving, expecting nothing in return, not for the blessing that comes with generosity, but because we feel obligated to give.
but i also feel like that's not really giving, and that's definitely not what Christmas should be like.
that's not what Christmas means to the One Who we're (supposed to be) celebrating.
the real reason anyone ever started giving gifts on Christmas is the fact that Christ gave all He had.
and He didn't give it because He felt obligated or because it was expected.
He gave it all because He loves.
this year i am trying hard to cultivate that spirit of giving in love by buying meaningful gifts for my family and friends - a few are receiving books that i know are amazing and powerful and will bless their hearts, but i've also come upon some gifts that i am absolutely excited about and can't help but share with all of you!
do you remember in the book of james, when he's talking about faith without works being dead?
specifically he mentions giving:
"suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. if one of you says to them, "go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"
james 2:15-16 (niv)
world help's Christmas catalog reminds me of this verse.
i have heard people argue that giving these people things that they need physically (like farm animals or clean water) does no good, because their real needs are spiritual. which is true, but, as james points out, if all you do is tell them you hope they stay warm and well-fed (or tell them you're praying for them, etc.), but do nothing to even try to help them physically, what good is it?
meeting physical needs gives us strategic opportunities to meet spiritual needs.
when we help to provide things that people around the world desperately need physically, it opens the door for the gospel to be shared with them, and so faith and works come together in beautiful harmony instead of being in contrast with each other like they so often seem to be in people's minds.
through world help's gifts you can provide schooling for children, farm animals to help sustain their families, bicycles for their transportation, clean water and health clinics for whole communities, and more, while at the same time opening the door for those delivering your gifts to spread the love and hope of salvation in Jesus Christ.
i'd encourage you to pray and consider giving your family and friends the gift of being able to give hope across the nations this Christmas.
but i do realize that not everyone would understand this as a gift, as they wouldn't be physically receiving anything themselves, and am absolutely delighted to tell you that world help also has merchandise for sale that is handmade by artisans around the world who provide for their families in this way.
world help gifts is partnering with an international community of craftsmen to bring you some of the most beautiful, skillfully crafted items from around the world!
these kinds of gifts empower women and families throughout the world to provide for their needs and to no longer have to depend on outside help.
i am blessed to own one of these scarves, and let me tell you firsthand - the quality is amazing, and the price is even better! (just $15 for a hand-woven scarf that helps provide needs for a family? yes, please!)
columbian coffee for the coffee-lover in the family. (i NEED to get me some of this!) ;)
fabulous hats for both adults and children (umm, YES).
darling stuffed animals for the littles in your life!
and for real. i have a few friends with this random purse/bag obsession, and these are perfection.
there is also some beautiful Christmas decor (ornaments and hand-carved nativity sets!), and just oodles of other amazing things available for gifting to the needy OR for buying for yourself/a friend.
i'm just sitting here like, why didn't i wait to start my Christmas shopping until i'd seen all.of.the.things??
so in short (haaa, funny joke. my writing is never short.), these are just some of the ways that i'm working to make my Christmas a meaningful one this year - by buying gifts that mean something.
gifts that matter.
gifts that bring hope.
because that's what Jesus did on the first Christmas - He gave His all, to give us hope.
and hope is worth sharing.