Monday, December 1, 2014

On Celebrating Christmas and its True Meaning

The month of December always seems to have a life of its own, doesn't it? Our calendars get booked up way too quickly and it seems like there just isn't enough time to accomplish everything that needs to be done.

Everyone is hurried... lost in the hustle and the bustle of the season.

For several years now, our family has intentionally tried to do Christmas counter-culturally... the upside-side way! Doing so isn't always easy... but doing so has reinforced in our hearts and minds what Christmas is really all about.

This video is a bit dated and you might have seen it before, but I think it is worth watching again every year as we prepare to celebrate Christmas...

Christmas Change from Kujilana on Vimeo.

So, how should we give gifts on Christmas?
In my early days of joining Twitter, I came across a tweet that I've favourited and often think about when I start to see all the hustle and the bustle and the commercialization of Christmas starting up each year. Here it is...
Ah, so true. So sad and just so plain wrong! 

When we smother ourselves and our children with over-indulgent gifts, focusing on us rather than those around us who are in need, how are we as Christ-followers living out the true meaning of Christmas?

How should we then, as Christ-followers, celebrate Christmas? 

As we mark Advent and prepare for Christmas... 
Our family is intentionally mindful of how we should be celebrating... focusing on the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place!

This year, as is our practice for many years now... there will be very little for ourselves under the tree so that we can give more Jesus birthday presents... intentionally making our Christmas simple in order to give generously to those who are in dire need, in want, in poverty... to the least of these... an upside-down Christmas!
Then the King will answer, 'I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.' (Matthew 25:40, NCV)
So... Christmas shopping on your mind?
How about an egg-laying chicken or a rabbit or guinea pig for the least of these in Ecuador... in the Andes Mountains, to help the neediest moms start a small animal breeding business together?
How about the gift of classrooms for the least of these children living in the Peruvian rain-forest... so that they can learn life skills, receive tutoring and discover the Bible?
How about clean water for the least of these in some of the neediest areas of Uganda?
How about homes for war-torn families and orphansthe least of these in Northern Uganda who are affected by the LRA?
Friends, you can turn Christmas upside-down!
Be the gift this Christmas. Many people on our family's Christmas list will be receiving a Gift of Compassion this year... much like the ones I described above. Many on your list can too!

You can check out Gifts of Compassion online. You can even print off a card to give to that special person on your Christmas list to let them know which Gift of Compassion you got them for Christmas!

For my Canadian readers, please click here for the Gift of Compassion catalog on Compassion Canada's website.

If you are visiting this blog from the United States or from another country, please click here for the Christmas Gift Catalog on Compassion International's website.

Merry Christmas, my friends!
May the Christ of Christmas be the focus of our celebration this Christmas season... and may His love compel us to be a blessing to those around us who might need to feel His touch and sense His presence!
I am blessed. I can bless. Imagine! I could let Him make me the gift!
I could be joy!
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.

About Aimee Esparaz...Aimee is mother to two teens and is passionate about living out Micah 6:8 with her family. She is a sponsor and advocate through Compassion Canada and works in global marketing. She loves to read and garden, and blogs at A Mom On A Mission.

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