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Archive for November 21st, 2011

In case you’re looking for ways to “de-commercialize” a sacred holiday, here’s a great idea from our nephews in Sarasota, Florida: use the tradition of season’s greetings to highlight the needs of others, and also to help alleviate their suffering.  Tyler and Ryan designed holiday cards to sell to friends and family, and they’re donating all the profits to World Vision and MCC.  I loved this idea so much I asked their mom if I could share it on my blog, and could she give me the story how this came about.  Here are her words:

I can’t quite remember how it all started.  I know I often feel frustrated just praying for things to get better for this or that situation.  And one night Ryan even said, “Mom! We have to do something!”  I’ve looked into lots of volunteer opportunities for us/the boys, but we keep hearing that they are too young.  So, one afternoon we were talking about how God gives us gifts and we can choose to use them to serve ourselves and bring glory to ourselves or to serve others and bring glory to God.  Ryan has been really into drawing lately, so we came up with the idea of using his gift to make cards to sell.  Tyler is always up for anything, and also enjoys drawing, and they each went off and drew their own pictures…no prodding or pleading was needed.  Later on, we decided it might be nice to have a couple of other cards to choose from, so I gave them each an assortment of paint swatches and asked them to cut them up and make a picture out of them. Tyler made snowflakes and Ryan made a Christmas tree.  We receive publications from World Vision and sometimes read about the different struggles people are facing around the world.  Ryan said he thought we should do something that helped people get clean water because people can live without food longer than they can without water.  (Then, this past week they learned about the crisis in Africa during a chapel presentation at school and wanted to help MCC as well).
    Anyhow, all of this happened at the beginning of October.  Since then, it has been one frustrating journey to figure out how to get them reproduced.  I have literally spent hours (that I don’t really have to spend) at various copy centers and was feeling so discouraged, even up to this week, as the copies just didn’t look very nice.  I could write a whole story about all of the different places I went and the different ways folks tried to get them to look like the originals.  And not being very tech-savvy, I was at their mercy.  I was in tears one night this week, ready to just give up on the whole process.  I was just so tired of it!  At the same time, I felt convicted and so lame for being so frustrated over such a trivial thing, especially when I compared my frustration to what my sisters in other countries must feel having to spend their days walking to find clean water for their families.  My dear husband also reminded me that giving up was exactly what the enemy wanted me to do and asked what lesson were we teaching the boys by giving up?  So, I offered up my feeble prayer and asked God to please help me know what to do.  The next day I took the originals to one more place and was met with the nicest old gentleman who said they do this kind of thing all the time and that lots of people come in to get their art copied.  He assured me they could do it, but I’d heard it before.  I went in the next day, expecting more of the same sub-par copies, but was presented with PERFECT reproductions!  I felt like I wanted to cry and hug the dear man!  …There was definitely a lesson in this for me, too.  Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!
I can see why she was so thrilled with the reproductions:  I got mine in the mail Saturday and they are great: vivid and sharp, on nice card stock.  It will be fun using these this season for gift baskets, hostess gifts, and thank you notes.  Thanks Ryan and Tyler for helping me  think a little more about CHRIST this Christmas!  He definitely loves seeing us take care of our brothers and sisters all over the world.
     Christmas was materialistic, even when I was a kid.  But at least back then it wasn’t considered culturally insensitive to say “Merry Christmas” instead of a more generic “happy holidays.”  I’m wondering what other ways you have found to turn the season back toward the gospel that it is:  God with us.  Share below!  (Make sure to check the box to receive notification when others post their ideas.)
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