Monday, November 16, 2009
Who's It All For Anyway?
I confess. I love Christmas. And sometimes not for the right reason. I love the shopping, the Christmas music, the baking, the wrapping, the parties. I don't love the busyness, the long lines, the traffic, the stress of deciding what the "perfect" gift will be for so and so, the over-extending myself, the amount of money I spend on relatively meaningless gifts and the fact that by the time December 26th rolls around I'm exhausted.
So, partially because God has grabbed ahold of our hearts so tightly this year through our adoption and our trip to Africa and partially because I am finally ready to set aside the "Christmas trappings" and focus on the person whose birth we celebrate, we are doing things differently this Christmas. After all, who's this all for anyway?? I imagine if Jesus could choose what kind of birthday party we throw Him, He'd be doing things very differently. Somehow, we've made Christmas all about us. This year, we are attempting to turn that around.
We have trimmed back the list of people that we buy gifts for this year. Let's face it. We all have SO stinking much stuff in our lives and we truly don't NEED more...we may want it, but we don't NEED it. So, in place of giving actual things as gifts this year, we are giving money to organizations we know and trust will do good things to impact the lives of people in the world who truly do NEED it.
I recognize that there will always be gifts that need to be bought for certain people, but there's no reason for us to be buying things from stores that purchase items made from sweatshops or from people in slavery. So, I have listed below some organizations that are selling items that will either benefit the hungry, needy and abused around the world or have actually been made BY those people. I would so much rather give gifts that I know will directly impact the lives of the people who made them!
Tom's Shoes Buy a pair of shoes from Tom's Shoes (they now have children's shoes, people!!) and Tom's will donate a pair of shoes to a person who has none. Buy a pair, give a pair. Love that math.
The Hunger Site Every purchase you make funds food for the world's hungry.
Water For Christmas All proceeds go to provide clean water to people who don't have it! Cute gift ideas (be sure to check out the link at the bottom of the page for their Etsy store). Fact: Just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years!
Saint's Coffee Know someone who loves coffee? This is GREAT coffee...it's brewing in my coffe pot as I type this. Best thing about it though? If you buy a pound of Fair Trade, Organic Coffee you feed an orphan for a month! A MONTH!!
Shop RED Do you have people on your list who you'll be purchasing iTunes gift cards, GAP t-shirts or Starbucks for? Buy RED and have the proceeds go to help fight poverty around the world.
Rahab Ministries Beautiful jewelry which helps women in Asia who choose to leave prostitution have an alternative means of income.
Emancipation Network The Emancipation Network has a great selection of items for everyone on your list! Each purchase helps survivors of slavery rebuild their lives after rescue from slavery, with sustainable income, education and help reintegrating into society. You could seriously wrap up all your shopping at this site!
For those of you who know people who are interested in learning more about issues around child trafficking, orphan care, micro-loans, hunger...giving a good book this Christmas could go a long way to impacting many lives as the reader's hearts are changed in the process. Here are a few I would recommend:
The Hole In Our Gospel - Richard Stearns, President of World Vision (about how the church is missing the boat in caring for the poor)
Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds - Tom Davis (about the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa and how we can help)
The Poor Will Be Glad - Peter Greer & Phil Smith (about how micro-loans are lifting people out of poverty)
Not For Sale - David Batstone (about Human trafficking and Modern Day Slavery)
If you need some suggestions for organizations to donate to, we know and trust these organizations!
Hope some of this information inspires you to check out doing Christmas differently this year! Let's make this all about the One who gave everything for us and give to Him in ways that move His heart!