Written by Rene Owens
I love the Christmas season for many reasons: family time, the celebration of our Savior’s birth, all the sparkling lights and Christmas décor, the delicious baked goodies for all the holiday gatherings, and listening to Christmas music. Although, I think one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is give.
You can’t go to any store or watch any television without being bombarded by advertisements for the latest and greatest new gadget, video game, toy, or new fashion. My Christmas list has none of these on it. Truly, I just want to give.
I have received so many blessings in my life and I want to return a small portion to those in need. For many years our church has had a giving tree where you choose an ornament and buy a gift for a child or parent from a local nonprofit agency. My nieces love going to the giving-tree to select an ornament for a child their age and then shopping for the perfect gift to give this child. They always pick something they themselves would like—since they are the same age. It amazes me to see their giving hearts and spirits.
Last year, I overheard a conversation while I was at one of my Piggies and Paws galleries. The hostess discussed the adults in her family who always picked a local charity or a charity close to their heart. They have the other adults in the family donate to that charity in their honor instead of buying a Christmas gift. I did this for the adults in my family last year. Most of us didn’t need another thing to clutter our already overflowing houses. Hopefully the money that went to Ghana & Zambia, Africa, to Christian Homes of Abilene, and to a research foundation will have more of an impact on the future than a gift that is usually forgotten about within weeks. I did gift them an ornament with the name of the charity and the year; in the future when they are putting up their own Christmas decorations they can reflect on the impact they had.
I have a challenge for you this holiday season. What are you giving to others that will have a lasting impact on the future? Your gift does not necessarily have to be monetary but can be the gift of your time and talents.
Here are few ideas on ways to give back:
1. Volunteer at your church—teaching, working in the nursery, helping to set up for church activities, visiting the sick or widows, taking food to the sick.
2. Volunteer in your local school—adopt a lunch buddy, read to a class, adopt a class to donate extra classroom supplies.
3. Volunteer in a local nonprofit agency—help with fundraisers, donate your expertise, buy gifts for clients of the agency, donate unused items from your house.
My sincere wish is that this holiday season we focus more on giving out of our own blessings, rather than getting the latest gadget or gizmo.
I pray a great Christmas and Happy New Year for each of you!
Rene Owens is the Spiritual Director for NACWE. She is also a Piggies and Paws Artist & Kindergarten Teacher. Find out more at www.piggiesandpaws.com or www.facebook.com/PiggiesandPaws or contact Rene at firstname.lastname@example.org.