Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Alternative Gifts For The Holidays

What was the best Christmas gift you ever received?  Some of us may remember some special "cool" toy we received when we were kids.  I remember the 2XL ("the smartest toy robot ever made!").  The fact that this particular 2XL was purchased at an estate auction is somewhat depressing.  The fact that it still works (8 track tapes and all) is impressive.

But honestly, there are few presents that we receive for the holidays that we still hold on to and cherish years later.  If we do, it's often because of WHO gave the present more than the actual gift itself.

The Best Gift Ever

The BEST gift ever given to mankind is forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ.  Sin is not a popular topic these days.  But let's face facts- it's out there.  What's worse it's INSIDE here (me, you, everyone!) as well. It's worse than ebola, cancer, and heart disease.  There's a 100% infection rate and a 100% mortality rate unless you receive the cure (Christ).  That's the best reason to celebrate Christmas- to rejoice that a cure has been provided- a way for man to return to God and conquer death, hell, and the grave.

This same Jesus- whose birth we celebrate by spending billions on gifts- also said this:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Birthday Gifts For The King

Mission Without Borders has provided a way for you to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, visit those in prison, and clothe the needy.  Through alternative gifts, you can give a gift in the name of a special person and truly change a life forever!  

Thousands of pensioners in Eastern Europe have to make a decision every day. Do I buy medicine, heating fuel, or food?  Mission Without Borders partners with local churches to provide hot meals for the needy.  Working with churches ensures that physical and spiritual needs are met and the meals serve as a way for seniors to socialize (emotional health).  $48 will provide one hot meal a day for one month.

One of the most practical gifts for rural families are farm animals.  One sow averages 10 piglets per litter and can have two to three litters per year!  These piglets can be sold to provide money for school, clothes- whatever a family needs!  This is truly a "hand up" that will set a family on a path to self sufficiency!  The gift of a pig is just $96.

"Children in Eastern Europe are not permitted to go to school if they don't have the basic equipment.  So simply by giving new exercise books, pencils and rulers you're giving a child an education, and a future."  Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty.  A gift of $20 will buy school supplies for a year for a needy child!

Last year I gave several of these alternative gifts away. Order online. The type up a letter stating why you chose this gift (because you love school, I decided to help other children with their school supplies).  You can make the presentation fancy or simple.  The main point is to keep the focus on the real reason for the season- Christ's birthday- and honoring Christ by helping others in His Name.

I don't fully understand the above Scripture passage.  But when we give to others (especially those who are never going to be able to repay us) in some way we are giving to Christ Himself.  Will you  commit to giving to those who will never be able to repay you this holiday season.  You won't regret it, I promise.

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