Archives: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? #2
Guidelines for Alternative Giving
Giving is at the heart of Christmas! We remember God's great gift by giving to others. Given human nature and the commercialization of Christmas, "getting" sometimes seems more prominent than giving," and giving to "our own" sometimes has more importance than giving to the one whose birthday we celebrate. It doesn't have to be that way. We can give in a way that honors the birth of Christ, expresses our love to our family and friends, and our concern for the earth.
Consider these "Do's" and "Don'ts" as you make up your own guidelines:
- DON'T look at catalogues or go to the malls to "get ideas" of what to give. That allows someone else do your thinking for you.
- DON'T wait until the last minute when the commercial pressures are the greatest and you are most vulnerable.
- DON'T give any gift that doesn't reflect values you want to share. What does it say, for example, to give a war toy to a child?
- DON'T buy anything you can't pay for this December.
- DO consider the true interests and needs of the person to whom you are giving: Can your gift stimulate spiritual, mental or physical growth?
- DO give yourself: your time and what you can make are probably the best gifts you can give.
- DO respect the environment in the gifts you select. For example, think twice before giving a gift made of plastic or other non-biodegradable materials.
- DO consider gifts from self-help craft groups where your purchase supports the preservation of traditional crafts and skills as well as the efforts of low-income people to become self-sufficient.
- Finally, DO REMEMBER WHOSE BIRTHDAY IT IS! When we celebrate a birthday, we give gifts to the person whose birthday it is. Is there any doubt as to what Jesus wants us to give him? He pointedly insists that in order to give to him, we must find him in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned.
Gifts of our time, skills and money to support ministries to "the least of these" are the beginning points-not afterthoughts -of gift giving at Christmas.
Take time to fill out the "Christmas Cost Analysis" form to see how much you spent for Christmas last year. Consider giving a "birthday gift"-in time and money-an amount equal to 25% of what you spent on last year's Christmas celebration. If there are others in your household, do the cost analysis as, a group and make this covenant together.
WARNING: You probably do not have the time or money to do everything you have done before and add this. The birthday gift to Jesus should replace some of the time and money you would otherwise spend.
CHRISTMAS COST ANALYSIS
HOW MUCH DID YOU SPEND LAST CHRISTMAS?
|Son(s) / Daughter(s)|
|Brother(s) / Sister(s)|
|niece(s) / nephew(s)|
|Boss / co-workers|
|dog / cat / etc.|
|3. Christmas Cards|
|Cookies , etc.|
|6. New Clothes|
|Multiply "Grand Total" by 25%.||X.25 =|
This is how much money I plan to divert to social causes this Christmas.
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