Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Do You Want to Have a Real Christmas?

 “John answered, ‘Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same’”—Luke 3:11 (NIV).

“Church members each get $500 to do good for world.” The headline grabbed my attention. I wanted to know more. A church pastor in Chicago surprised her congregation recently by giving each regular attendee a check for $500 to do something positive. The funds came from a real estate deal worth $1.6 million. Taking 10 percent or $160,000, which is a typical tithe, she divided it among the 320 members.

The church has always been involved in social causes, from feeding homeless people to buying an ambulance for a medical clinic in Niger. With their $500, members of the non-denominational congregation chose to help others as far away as Tanzania and as close to home as their next door neighbors. 

How easy it is to forget the true meaning of this season during the hustle and bustle of striving for the perfect Christmas. However, when we recall the circumstances in which the Christ child was born, it’s much easier to remember that it’s not about expensive gifts like electronic games, computer gadgets and other gizmos that will eventually become obsolete or today’s latest fashions that will be out-of-style by the end of next year.

Do you want to celebrate a Christmas that honors our Savior and teaches your children and grandchildren the real value of a Christ-centered holiday?

Do you want to celebrate a Christmas that honors our Savior and teaches your children and grandchildren the real value of a Christ-centered holiday? Start at home with some of the following suggestions:

  • Write a letter to family members revealing your favorite Christmas memory from the past. I always loved hearing my parents share about growing up during the Depression years and the simple times of Christmases past without the pressure to spend more than you earn by putting it on a credit card.
  • Adopt a family at Christmas and anonymously provide everything they need to make their holiday a memorable one, including the meal and the gifts.
  • Go caroling with your family, neighbors or church members at a local nursing home or veterans’ center. I’ve done this and it’s a delight to see the expressions on the faces of the residents.
  • Purchase nice toys that don’t require batteries and donate them to Toys for Tots or some other worthy cause. Let your children or grandchildren select the toys.
  • Find an Angel Tree in your area and select a child or adult in need. Purchase from their list what has been requested. Don’t be stingy either. Buy the best you can afford. Again, involve your children.

      Each year, over $600 million is spent on Christmas, while billions have yet to hear the name of Jesus. The Christ child is the reason we should be celebrating this season. Many have forgotten this, getting caught up in the web of commercialization and the desire to keep up with their neighbors and friends. We live in a nation—and a world—of haves and have-nots. If you are blessed, then Luke 3:11 tells us we should share what we have. 

     That’s what Christmas is really all about.

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