Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet and Christmas decorations have already taken over the stores. In many places, stuff was on the shelves before Halloween. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I am amazed at how little Jesus is acknowledged – during HIS own birthday season. It's about Him, after all. At least it's supposed to be. I’m floored every year (and annoyed) at how, in the midst of all the Christmas trimmings, it is so difficult to find Christmas cards that have anything to do with Jesus at all. The ‘religious’ section of cards has options with an angel or a phrase about hope and peace. At Jesus' birthday, most of the celebration has nothing to do with Him...
Stop for a moment to consider how often you (and I) lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas – right in the middle of our own Christmas preparations. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all been there. It’s so easy to get sucked into the rush of shopping and preparing and running to various holiday get-togethers. Think for a minute about the amount of money that is spent during the holidays. Money for quick grab bag gifts, last minute presents, new ornaments for the tree, chocolate candies to give to someone, etc. etc. Much of what is spent is so unnecessary. How often have we all gotten gifts that are put in a box in the basement afterwards or even re-gifted the next year? And how often have we bought that little gift basket by the register for someone just so we didn’t show up to an event looking bad without something in hand. I know I’ve been guilty of that. Imagine if all of the money from all of those quick and ‘little’ purchases were added up. The total sum would be quite large.
The video posted below on November 5th included a number of staggering statistics about holiday spending. Last year alone, there was over $416 billion spent on Christmas. Yes, BILLION. (Information provided by Gospel for Asia). According to their Forgotten Christmas website, the average westerner spends at least $500 on Christmas. A small fraction of that, even just 10% could make an enormous difference in the life of someone living in poverty in India. $110 provides a native missionary a bicycle, which will allow them to travel much easier from village to village and tell more people about Christ. For $65 you can purchase a lamb for people who will receive wool, milk and meat as a result. $12 keeps someone warm with a blanket who has no heat. $11 buys a pair of chickens and provides an income for people as a result. $10 guards against malaria with a mosquito net. Of course there are many, many gifts that can be given to touch the poorest of the poor in South Asia. Check out GFA’s Christmas Gift Catalog and see how you can be a blessing to someone across the globe. After all, "it is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) Share this amazing opportunity with others who can give as well. This can even be a new tradition in your family this time of year.
This Christmas season, before heading out to the malls, consider what kind of an impact you would like to make. I’m not saying that you can’t or shouldn’t buy gifts for people or sing Christmas carols or watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ This isn't condemnation or legalism. I enjoy those moments like many of you do. Just ask the Holy Spirit to show you if how you spend your money this Christmas will bring honor and glory the One who Christmas is all about. We are so incredibly blessed in this nation. Even with the recession and economic difficulties, we still have so much more than most of the people on this planet. Let’s not forget about those in other parts of the world who have not received all that we have. Your gift may save a life and make an eternal difference.
May we all honor God this Christmas and
remember that JESUS is the reason for the season!
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. – Proverbs 14:31
*100% of donations toward Gospel for Asia Christmas gifts goes straight to the field. Nothing is taken out for administrative expenses.