As I've been thinking about the upcoming Christmas season and all the gifts that will be given, I've been struck by the amount of "stuff" that fills most of our American lives. I'm struggling to think up gifts to give to people who already have most everything they need, and even most of what they want. This issue has been raised, in part, because Meg and I have been consciously trying to downsize our belongings in preparation for moving to Arua. But I have also been hit anew recently, especially in light of the recent drought and food shortage in Uganda, by how little others in the world have.
This Christmas, would you consider with me how we can give gifts that make a difference? I'm not just talking about giving another inspirational, feel-good book that "will change your life" though, I mean giving in such a way that could make the difference in someone thriving physically and spiritually.
I want to suggest an idea for us this year. Instead of buying someone in our lives one more thing to sit on a shelf or hang in the closet, why not use that money to make a difference in Uganda (or any part of the world that is on your heart)? World Gospel Mission publishes a resource entitled The Great Co-Mission Catalog that can assist in doing that very thing for the different fields they serve in.
Let me share a couple of concrete ways you could do this.
- Instead of buying someone the new bestseller, why not buy a Bible for someone in their own language ($12/ea.), or textbooks for schoolchildren ($7/ea.), or even help a Christian book get translated into an African language ($25)?
- Instead of the hottest new DVD, what about providing an opportunity for a village to see The JESUS Film in their own language and encounter Jesus in a dynamic way ($180)?
- Rather than buying a warm sweater, or a new pair of pajamas, would you purchase mosquito nets that would allow a child or pregnant mother to sleep in peace, without fear of contracting malaria overnight ($10/ea.)?
- In place of giving someone the latest and greatest technology, could you give a pastor in Uganda a bike ($110/ea.); a piece of technology we take for granted, but could increase their ministry by reducing their travel time.
By choosing to give to someone in need, in honor of (and in place of) that "someone who has everything," you can make a world of difference for someone around the world and for the Kingdom of God. What better way to celebrate God's self-giving love and revelation of Himself than to give so that His love can be revealed anew this Christmas?