It never fails. Everytime the holidays get close, I decide that this year, I will GIVE more to charities…I will NOT buy into the consumerism by going to that cesspool of a mall and I will NOT buy completely unecessary items for people who will just take it to Goodwill the following spring. *victoryfist*
(It might be a little self-righteous of me but hey, better a motive to give than not giving at all, right?) 🙂 Plus, sometimes I kind of like the mall…I mean, come on, those Auntie Ann pretzels?? *dies*
So then I get the bright idea of buying a goat or seeds or immunizations for impoverished children in an impoverished nation on someone’s behalf. Which sounds like a great idea until Christmas actually gets closer and I feel funny that I don’t have an actual THING to give this person. So then I think, ok maybe like a little piece of jewelry to make them think of this goat, or even a book or a stuffed animal. Then I end up spending twice as much because I feel the need to let this person know they didn’t get totally gipped, that their Christmas gift isn’t lacking because they can’t tangibly take it home.
Then I start to think, surely there must be a healthy balance. But then I realize, not much about life is a healthy balance. “Stuff” is not evenly distributed. Money is grossly horded (myself included). I remember reading last year this bizarre statistic that said if all the money in all the world was evenly distributed, every person would have four million dollars.
I began thinking about Christmas again last night when I was at my friend Jess’s house. She had a lot of World Vision Christmas Catalogs, and talked quite a bit about some organizations she is passionate about, and I wanted to pass on some of the information.
ServLife: This is a local organization in Indianapolis with global ties and influence. They basically serve to bridge resources from the west to the suffering world. They evangelize and strive to help eliminate human suffering. They have lunches at their office once a month with speakers who talk about certain issues, they have a ServLife store in which they sell items made by women who are trying to escape extreme poverty and the grips of human trafficking. These are high quality items with so much meaning woven into them.
World Vision Gifts: Here is an entire store of items and causes you can buy for Christmas on behalf of someone. They were also smart to provide little ‘free’ gifts when you make a donation to the Maximum Impact fun by giving you a bracelet, Christmas ornament, or a little plush goat or chicken. You can even donate to the cause of sex trafficking.
World Vision Sponsorship: You can also sponsor a child, which is $35 a month. That’s a dinner out, a couple lunches, a movie (with popcorn and a soda), etc. This is also fun because you can send them little packages in the mail.
Operation Christmas Child: This is way fun, especially if you have kids you can do this with. You just fill a shoebox with fun little items, toys, coloring books, etc., wrap it up, and drop it off at a local collection location, and they all get shipped to children who don’t have much, if anything at all. You can fill it for less than $20, my friend tells me.
Global Gifts: This store is amazing. Not only is their merchandise beautiful and unique, but the entire business is designed to benefit the impoverished artists and makers of the items. If you’re in the Indy area, you should look this store up. There’s one in Broad Ripple and on the north side.
The International Festival: I think sometimes in order to have a heart for other nations, we just need to educate ourselves. Every year at the fairgrounds, there’s an International Festival that lasts for days. I’ve never been but hear it’s really fabulous.
The iHeart Revolution Movie (NEXT WEEK!): After watching the trailer, it looks like this is a combination of the live screening of a concert by Hillsong and a documentary. The trailers themselves are challenging, I can’t imagine what the movie will be like. You should see if there is a showing in your area…
The Prayer Room: Not sure how God wants you to help or you feel overwhelmed by it? This is a live stream of the 24/7 prayer room at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. They have been worshipping/praying for TEN YEARS STRAIGHT, without stopping. You can come and go as you please, and now you can watch it online. Pretty incredible. If I were as committed to prayer as that, I wonder how my life would be different.
I am sure there is more. But that’s what I have right now. And I’m not all about making people feel guilty. I definitely believe we are blessed with what we have for a reason, and that we should be happy about that and enjoy it. I know I myself don’t do everything that I can. But there’s also a time when I know I need to look past my comfort, past the “what am I doing with my life” questions, past all this focus on myself and think how I can practically help with what I’ve been given. What can I afford? How can I change my lifestyle so I can give more? Chances are I will live comfortably even if I gave more.
So I guess it’s more of a challenge. And I guess I feel like I really want to step up. I hope others do too.
“I guess the only fair thing to say is that when we forsake the lives of others,
we actually forsake our own.”