Monday, November 29, 2004

Christmas suggestions

I might be too late to offer this up as the most holy of shopping days has passed, but I am totally disgusted by the consumerism of Christmas. It is the only birthday during the year when we get SOMEONE ELSE gifts. The holiday is as much about the pagan worship of consumerism and getting “stuff” as it is about Jesus being incarnated in Bethlehem. I used to be much more militant against presents, but now I realize that some people want to give presents as a way to show their love. So now I try to give people options of giving presents to show me that they love me, but I direct them to organizations that need the money or stuff more than I. God has sufficiently blessed me and while I WANT lots of things, I don’t NEED anything. Jehovah Jireh.

Let me offer up two websites that you might want to visit if avoiding the “he who dies with the most toys wins” mantra appeals to you.

Go to Any Soldier to adopt a soldier for Christmas. Regardless of where you stand on the war, the warriors are doing an impossible job. They could use as much support as you want to give them. Or consider getting members of your church together to do that. Don’t wait for your pastor/vicar/priest/board, etc to put something together. Do it yourself. The website will walk you through the process and I bet a simple notice in the bulletin or during announcements would get plenty of people at church to support your effort.

Something else that local churches could do, but takes more work on your part is to find out if a local national guard has been backdoor drafted into long service and adopt the families at home. I’ve only spent self-imposed holidays away from my family, so I don’t know what it is like to be without someone on the holidays against my will, but I imagine there are plenty of hurting families out there who would love the local church to come up along side them and give them a big hug (and presents or a turkey or whatever).

If that doesn’t suit your fancy, why not check out Generous Giving Marketplace to find an appropriate ministry to give to in the name of someone you love. I’ve suggested this to some family members. These even gives you the chance to “shop” and pick a ministry that best fits the person you are giving to. I haven't fully vetted this website, but it appears to be on the up-and-up. However, like always caveat emptor.