Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our Christmas List

Ah, Christmas shopping. So much fun...the crowds, the expense, the time, the crowds, the wrapping, the rush, the crowds...oh, but isn't it worth it. I mean you get to give! And isn't that what it's all about, anyway? Yes, indeed!

Well for those trying to figure out what to get the Gabriel's for Christmas this year, we're offering a little help. Now if you've already taken care of this, I'm sure you did great. No worries here. But if you're truly stumped trying to find that perfect gift, here's the help you're looking for.

Now I warn you, our Christmas list is a bit unusual this year. But it's simple, really. We want your gifts to us to be relational gifts. That is, gifts that took more time and less money. We want you to spend less on us so you can spend some on others who are truly in need.

Now we're not saying you can't buy us a gift. After all, that's giving too. But we're thinking, it's Jesus' birthday we're celebrating, right? Shouldn't he be the one getting at least some of the presents?

Now how do you give presents to Jesus? You give to the least, the last and the lost of our world. Those in great need.

Matthew 25:40
(Jesus said) "'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the 
least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
Matthew 25:39-41 (in Context)

It would have been pretty weird if the 3 wise men had shown up to see little Jesus and then started giving their gifts to each other instead of the one they had just traveled hundreds of miles to see. So we're just trying to be a little more about giving gifts to Jesus and less for us. 

Did you know that Americans spend $450 Billion a year just on Christmas?

Did you know that the lack of clean water kills more people every day than anything? And here's the think. They estimate it will take just $10 Billion to make clean water accessible to everybody in the world. $450 or $10? I'm just saying...

Jesus said, "It's more blessed to give than to receive." Well, if that's true (I believe it is) then the most blessed gift you could give us would be to give our gift to someone else for us. Especially if that person is in need.

We're not saying it's wrong to give gifts to each other. As I said, we're still going to do that. We're just going to cut back and take the extra and give it to Jesus. 

So we have several options for you to consider.

Here are 2 websites that have catalogues designed to help you give in this way. Just pick something out you'd like to give to someone else in need and give it. Then when we gather for Christmas, just share with us what you did. It can be for each of us or one for the whole family. We'd be thrilled with that!

World Vision  I especially like gifts that relate to giving animals or clean water (the basics of life).

Samaritan's Purse  Stocking a fish pond seems like a cool idea here too. But they have lots of options just like World Vision. 

Both are reputable, world-wide Christian ministries that are committed to both making poverty history and sharing the truth that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. 

Another thought in giving gifts this year is to give something relationally. Give your time. 

You remember those cheesy things you made as a child and then proudly gave to your parents? Well those gifts are precious. They aren't valuable, right? No, but they are precious because you made them. You took the time to make them.

Or why not just give of your time. You can give homemade coupons of things you can do for others. Wash their car. Iron some clothes. Have them over for dinner. It doesn't have to be expensive or extravagant. Just so it includes you!

We are actually challenging our whole church to do this. So we as a family will be giving gifts this way. We are calling it the Advent Conspiracy. You can learn more about where the idea came from here.

So, perhaps not the list you were looking for, but hopefully helpful none-the-less.

Merry CHRISTmas and Happy Birthday, Jesus!

The Gabriel's