"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8

13 December 2005

Christmas with Compassion?

It’s funny, I started this blog about two months ago because I had a lot of thoughts and opinions swirling in my head that I wanted to get down in writing. But for the last week or two, I’ve basically had nothing to say. Guess I’m just preoccupied with the holiday season and busy at work.

I have to say I can’t wait until Christmas is over. It’s terrible to admit, but I really hate Christmas. I would be so happy if Christmas was simply a celebration of the birth of our Savior and focused on compassionate giving rather than gift giving. Instead of buying another toy for a child that has more toys than they can ever play with, I would rather give that money to a child who has no toys and is happy just to have a meal every night. Instead of spending hours shopping and waiting in lines, I’d rather be giving my time to a soup kitchen.

Yeah, I can still do all these things, but wouldn’t it be great if all of us “fortunate” people gave up a commercialized Christmas for a compassionate Christmas! No more gifts or shopping for ourselves, but gifts and our time to make life a little better for all of those people around the world who have so much less than us. Yes, I know our children would be disappointed without all the gifts, but do they really need them? Wouldn’t the time be better spent teaching our children about compassion and giving while doing some sort of outreach as a family?

I’m sure I’m just a lone voice in the wilderness here. And I must admit that I myself have not reached these ideals that I’m professing. I’d be happy to do away with all the gift giving in my family, I just can’t get anyone else to agree with me. But we do give to other ministries during this time and maybe once my children are older we can start getting involved in some sort of an outreach as a family.

In the meantime, that will be me out there standing in the line at some store with a bunch of useless gifts in my basket and a sadness in my heart.

"If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." Proverbs 21:13


Carol said...

CW, You are not at all alone. And it's not just the gifts - it's the reindeer and the snowmen (who are very popular in Texas where it seldom snows) and the sugar and the more sugar, and the parties and the decadence of it all.

Can I give it up? Nope. I'm pretty well hooked. It's how I was brought up and all I've ever known. Now that I don't watch T.V. anymore, I'm able to distance myself from a lot of the trimmings and trappings, but I still do too much stuff at Christmas.

My family has looked for ways to enjoy ourselves while still helping others in meaningful ways. We give each other stuff from WorldVision.org. So, we all feel the warm fuzzies of remembering each other, but we know what we are purchasing is something very specific (not just cash contribution) and very basic (chickens, goats, rabbits, etc.), very much needed items (we're talking third world poverty here) to help feed families in other parts of the world who have probably never seen a grocery store much less be able to shop in one.

That's what we get when we open our packages - the note with the gift description. Next year, we're going to all sponsor some kids for each other - still working out details.

Yes, we do give each others' kids gifts. We do it because we love them and enjoy spoiling them. So, please don't think we're all altruistic. We're basically quite hedonistic in our own ways, but we have found a few ways to begin instilling better values in our kids.

I would love to see it all go away, though. I'd love to see our gifts to our neighbors be our caroling or our opening our homes up for hot cider. I'd love to see us only give one very sentimental thing to those closest to us in honor of Christ's birth, something unexpected and filled with sentiment. Oranges and nuts for the kids, put up a bit of pine bough on the mantle, worship with our church family, sing praises to God for his eternal gift to us and repeat the process 365 times/year.

Carol said...

Oh, and please do post more often. :-)

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