love all

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This, the final week of Advent, brings us to the last and in my opinion, most fun week of Advent Conspiracy. Our family has grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined when we started this all, but in ways that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

[love all]
When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined. Though rich, he became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most. When Advent Conspiracy first began four churches challenged this simple concept to its congregations. The result raised more than a half million dollars to aid those in need. One less gift. One unbelievable present in the name of Christ.
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The main focus of our local church when it comes to this week is water. Clean water is the most basic of human needs, and yet a billion of the world’s most vulnerable people are without access to clean water. As a congregation, we’ve given our funds to Clean Water for Haiti which provides sand filters to Haitian communities and families in need. Haiti has been close to our church’s heart for a number of years as we also send at least one, if not more, of our members in service there yearly. (One might not seem like a lot to some of you, but our congregation is SMALL. One is significant.)

Other things our family likes to do include putting together Christmas food baskets for the needy in our own community, giving a donation to The Sudan Project in honor of the church and pastor who started this whole change of thought for us, participating in Operation Christmas Child, donating various items through World Vision’s gift catalog, and sponsoring a child through Compassion International.

We have also tried to buy local in support of growing our own struggling economy, buying direct handmade gifts, purchasing gifts that give back (like Toms, Noonday, Show Hope, etc.), and forgoing actual tangible items in favor of gifts to a charity (like World Vision, Compassion, Clean Water for Haiti, etc.)

There is a definite time and place for the discussion about helping versus hurting. There are valid concerns with the marketing of “charity”. I think that all of these ways to love all are important, but are not enough in and of themselves. Each problem in our world right now needs boots on the ground, preferably local boots. I do not believe Americans are the saviors of the world. That honor belongs to the true Savior alone who empowers each one of us, no matter our economic condition, no matter our geographic location to change the world where we’re at. Sometimes we need some help – thus the gifts, the money, the products. They’re not bad. But they’re not the answer. That said, I think they’re better than nothing, and I believe that purchasing with purpose and conscience is our responsibility as the richest (in finances, anyway) people on this earth.

What are some ways that you love all during the Christmas season?
What’s your favorite item-with-a-cause site? My new favorite is Noonday, but I’m easily persuaded.
What’s one way that you are going to forsake your comfort zone, sacrifice what you hold dear to love others this year?

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