A Time for Giving
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:34-40
Our family has enjoyed many traditions during the Christmas season. Some have been passed down from parents and grandparents and some are only a single generation old. We make gingerbread boys from scratch and then deliver gingerbread boy “kits” complete with everything needed to decorate them. We have Christmas stockings filled with little items especially chosen with each recipient in mind. There are also other traditions we continue to enjoy, but there is one we no longer practice - the tradition of exchanging gifts. Instead, we have started a new tradition, one we thought would be an even better way to celebrate. We now take our family on mystery trips. The Lord has used these trips to create more memories than we can count and provided us with quality time with our children and grandchildren especially since we give out monthly clues during the year to keep their interest!
But we do have one memorable tradition that has blossomed in the past several years. It involves placing three envelopes at every family member’s place at the Christmas Eve breakfast table. The envelopes contain pictures and descriptions of gifts given in their honor to individuals or families that are in need worldwide. Our children and grandchildren experience the joy of helping and sharing our abundance with others who are less fortunate, all in the name of Jesus.
Milt and I have a great time picking out just the right items from a catalogue or other means provided by various groups. We try to match each gift, with an interest or personality of our family member. Once we decide on the gift, we simply cut out a picture and description of it and place it in an envelope addressed to the family member. The pictures have been especially important in helping our grandchildren understand and appreciate the gifts.
The gifts are all practical necessities and, in the past, have included a goat, a water pump, school supplies, playground equipment and vaccinations. While our children and some of our grandchildren now understand the gifts given in their honor, it is a wonderful moment as the parents explain why we picked out a particular gift for each child/grandchild (it is usually pretty specific to our children and grandchildren’s area of talent or interest). The discussion that follows is a powerful Christmas moment.
These organizations have good websites that can be used to obtain more information. Each organization has a little different way of offering the need, but all have one important thing in common: the act of cheerful sharing commanded by Jesus “whatever you did (do) for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did (do) for Me.’
- Who do you think are “the least of these” that you could minister to in our community?
- What are two practical ways you can incorporate giving into your Christmas celebration?
Please share your response in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup butter or margarine
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 5 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place butter sugar and molasses in a mixing bowl. Cream butter, sugar, and molasses well with mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add salt, soda dissolved in vinegar, and mix well. Measure flour into a bowl. Mix in spices and then add flour/spice mixture to batter. Cover the batter tightly with plastic wrap and chill well in refrigerator. When chilled completely, roll out on a well floured board to a thickness of ¼ inch. Using gingerbread men/boy cutters, but dough into shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350°F.