Christmas Giving

The Christmas season is upon us. In America, as the saying goes, there’s pressure to buy stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like. But Christmas can also be a time of genuine, heartfelt giving to those truly in need.

After all, Christmas is a day to commemorate the generous gift God gave us by sending His Son to save us from our sins. In that spirit I’d like to recommend a few places where spending just a little extra cash can go a long way towards helping others who are less fortunate.

WorldVision and Compassion International are Christian nonprofit organizations that provide food, clothing, medical care, education, and other necessities to children in impoverished nations. You may have seen their commercials on TV asking you to sponsor a child. Sponsoring a child is easy and cheap, but if you’d rather not make that commitment you can always give a one-time donation. WorldVision has a special Christmas catalog that lets you purchase gifts for the needy overseas. For example, for $28 you can provide medical care to someone with AIDS; $17 will buy seeds so that a poor family can plant vegetables; for $35 you can provide counseling and education to a young girl who has been forced into prostitution.

Another worthwhile organization is the Salvation Army. A small donation can provide a Christmas dinner, clothing, and toys for a family in need. You can donate online or drop some cash into one of their kettles at the mall.

Yet another worthy cause is Prison Fellowship. It’s founder, Chuck Colson, was the Chief Counsel of President Richard Nixon and served time in prison for his role in Watergate. Shortly before serving his sentence he became a Christian. After his release he started Prison Fellowship, one of the world’s largest ministries to prison inmates. Many prisoners have small children at home who will be celebrating Christmas this year without their mommy or daddy. Prison Fellowship’s Operation Angel Tree provides toys to those children in the name of their incarcerated parent.

I’m not trying to twist anyone’s arm or lay on a guilt trip. Well, maybe I am just a little. Compared to some parts of the world, we middle-class Americans live like kings. Please give some thought to sharing a little bit of your blessings this Christmas. Even the smallest gift can make a difference. You’ll have a warm feeling inside that Santa’s elves won’t be able to match.

Thanks for indulging me in this off-topic post. Tomorrow I’ll resume writing about art-related topics.