Gifts

Happy Sunday! The Christmas activities are in full-swing, and I don’t know about you, but every single part of my life is busy. This week I wanted my blog to be a chance for you to stop and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. I know you’ve heard a thousand times or more that Christmas is not about the gifts and decorations but about family and love and Jesus’ birth. But what if part of it is about gift giving?

gift: (n) a thing given willingly to someone without payment

Our pastor talked about gifts this morning, and started off with the question: Have you ever received a life-changing gift? Think about that. What is it for you? I thought and thought, and the only thing that popped in my head wasn’t a tangible gift. However, it was something that changed my life so much more than any tangible gift EVER could: the Holy Spirit. Other life-changing gifts mentioned were education and relationships and salvation, and I couldn’t agree more! I am so thankful for the education I’ve had even though I take it for granted so often. And relationships with people are the ultimate source of joy and how we get to experience God in the flesh. And of course salvation through Jesus is an important one because without it we can’t have a relationship with God. No matter which gifts have made the biggest impact in your life, these are all gifts that God has given to us.

Now of course, that was about gifts we have received, but what about giving? We have the power to change people’s lives by providing them with gifts that they truly need. We went shopping yesterday and my grandma came with us. Everywhere we went, anytime I said I liked something, she’d ask, “Do you need a new pair of boots? Do you need this? Do you need that?” And she wasn’t being sarcastic; she genuinely wanted to provide for me these things that I certainly didn’t need out of the love she has for me. And I greatly appreciated it, but I continued answering her, “No, I don’t need that.” But the thing is, some people do need that. We are a blessed people and sometimes we get caught up in the “I needs” when there are people who do actually need things to survive. There are people all over the world living on less than $1 a day. It’s not just the people who are going through a crisis; it’s how some have lived their entire lives. If you don’t believe me, please go watch Living on One Dollar. (It’s on Netflix but if you don’t have Netflix, it’s also on YouTube.) The four young guys filmed a documentary in a poor neighborhood in Guatemala where they lived on a dollar a day with the natives for two months, and it broke my heart. The people have nothing. No hope and little to no education and food. It reinforced that God is calling me personally to do something about the poverty in Guatemala, and it’s really cool how that’s where God is sending me this summer!

But in the meantime, we can help people all over the globe get what they truly need. I have decided to donate some of the missions money from Pendants of Praise, my necklace business, to Gospel for Asia this Christmas! I just want to let you know where your money is going if you’ve been buying necklaces from me! I purchased a $137 weaving loom, which an entire family can make their living on by weaving cloth and sewing it into garments, handbags, hats and household items. I also purchased a $30 BioSandWater Filter, which is a tall, cement box that holds layers of gravel and sand. The sand contains micro-organisms that eat contaminants, and it turns contaminated, brown water into clean, drinkable water, giving good health and hygiene to the whole family. Lastly, Pendants of Praise donated $25 to the Women’s Literacy Fund, which teaches women to read and write while teaching them about Jesus. This vital life skill will give them hope, opportunity, and protection against harmful labor contracts and being cheated in the marketplace. I am so excited to be giving these life-changing gifts this Christmas, and it’s all thanks to an idea God gave me to start a business and you all for buying the necklaces!!! If you want to support people who are truly in need, please consider giving to this worthy organization! Here’s the link to their gift catalog!

My hope is that, in this season of business, we won’t forget to stop and spend time with our Father and to give to his people in need. Let’s try to remember what gift-giving is truly about. Will you pray with me?

Father, thank you so much for blessing us beyond belief. You have given us so much when we deserve nothing. Thank you especially for those life-changing gifts that we will never forget. We pray that you would use our plenty to supply for others needs. We want other people to experience the life-changing gift of the Gospel this Christmas. Thank you for everything. In Jesus name, Amen.

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