‘Tis the Season to be Giving

It’s that time of year again…

Time to buy Christmas presents for others and create our Christmas lists.  Time to check out the holiday sales and shop ’til we drop.  Time to snatch up the best deals of the season on the perfect gifts for others (and maybe even ourselves).

But wait.  Is that what Christmas is all about?

Because of living in Taiwan, my holiday shopping is somewhat limited to online purchases. No pre-dawn lines that wrap around the store for me!  This year, I found it interesting though that the typical one-day, doorbuster, holiday sales lasted for, not one day, but a week each online.  Amazon (my online retailer of choice) advertised Black Friday Deals Week, Cyber Monday Deals Week, and now (I just checked) the aptly titled “Holiday Flurry Deals Week” is going on.  I wonder what next week’s AMAZING deals will be titled.  :)

Like many people, I got caught up in the craze of Christmas shopping and sales over the last couple of weeks.  This was compounded by the fact that my wonderful parents are coming to visit me and my sisters in Taiwan for Christmas–they’ll be here in just 12 days!!–so this was our chance to have them special deliver much-sought-after-and-not-found-in-Taiwan items.  It wasn’t all bad; I was able to find some great deals on gifts for my family and friends.  I even did pretty well at not going overboard on my purchases.  Yet it was my mindset that was polluted by consumerism.  I found myself gazing longingly at pictures of iPads and digital cameras and wondering just how much my budget could be stretched to purchase that on-sale season of Psych or Michael Bublé’s smooth new Christmas album.

In the midst of this greediness of my heart, our school launched its Christmas offering project, and I was reminded about the true meaning of Christmas:  giving.  After all, Christmas is when we remember the greatest gift ever given, the gift of God’s Son to mankind.  Isn’t it appropriate that we take time to focus on sacrificial giving at Christmas time?  What are you prepared to give to others this Christmas season?

In case you’re still looking for ways to give, here are a few opportunities for giving that are near and dear to my heart:

His Hands Taiwan

His Hands Taiwan is selling beautiful wall calendars to raise financial support for its ministry to unwed moms and orphans. The sale ends December 7, so if you want to buy a 2012 calendar filled with pictures of adorable babies, act now!  All the proceeds from the calendar sale directly support the physical needs of unwed mothers and orphans at His Hands Taiwan.

Eden Reforestation Project

Morrison Academy Kaohsiung’s Christmas fundraiser is for reforestation in Madagascar. Deforestation in Madagascar has depleted natural resources, ruined people’s livelihoods, and devastated the economic situation of the nation.  For every dollar raised during MAK’s Christmas campaign, Eden Reforestation Project will plant 10 trees.  Our goal is to raise $10,000 USD in order to plant 100,000 trees and provide 1,000 days of employment for people in poverty.  Our hope is that people will know that we give because Christ first gave to us.  If you are interested in giving towards our goal, please visit our online campaign page to find out more information and to donate via credit card or Paypal.

*The school hosted a coffee house last Friday as a fundraiser, and Sara and I contributed by singing a duet in the talent show portion of the evening.  Check out our video.*

Christy’s Stocking

Christy is a friend of mine who passed away several years ago after battling with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for most of her life.  After her death, Christy’s family began a yearly tradition of collecting children’s books and movies as well as gift cards to restaurants, stores, and gas stations to give to children at Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington, KY. In year’s past, many children have been blessed at Christmas by the wonderful donations to Christy’s Stocking, and we hope to continue that blessing this year.  If you are interested in giving to Christy’s Stocking, donations can be mailed to Christy’s Stocking, c/o The Wells Family, 104 Millhouse Drive, Nicholasville, KY 40356.  Donations will be delivered to the hospital on Dec. 19.

[Additional information regarding Christy’s Stocking:  1) If you are sending a gift card, please write “To: Someone Special” and “From: Christy’s Stocking.”  2) In an effort to make things as easy as possible for the accounting staff at Children’s Hospital, please include with your gift – your name, complete mailing address and the value of your donation so that the hospital can mail you a receipt, which you can use for income tax purposes.  Please note that your donation conformation letter will be addressed to you from The University of Kentucky.]

Final Thoughts

At school, I’ve been talking to my students about what it means to give sacrificially–to give so that it costs you something.  Do you have a favorite charity or a Christmas tradition of giving?  What will you give this year, and what will it cost you?


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