givingback6I know that Christmas has already passed. Many of you have already put away your tree, the presents, and your decorations. As we move into the new calendar year, we are already looking ahead, thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day, Easter, and eventually summer. We will forget about Christmas until November (or maybe October if you go with what the big stores are displaying) where once again we will get swept up into the frenzy of planning the perfect meals, finding the perfect presents, decorating the perfect house. 

Oftentimes, after the Christmas season we are left with a feeling of emptiness, yet each year we do the same thing over and over. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So, what are we doing to fill this emptiness?

This is something I struggle with each year. Christmas isn’t about presents, lights, or turkey dinners. While these things might be nice, we tend to get caught up in the consumerism of the season instead of the spirit of the season. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States said in a 1927 presidential address:

“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”

While this first part of the quote is widely publicized, what is not widely shared is the second part of this quote. 

“If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.”

With these words in mind, and with some help from my friends at Family Christian, I set out to create a new Christmas tradition in my house. A tradition that will teach my boys the true meaning of Christmas; that instead of just worrying about what they will get, but will teach them humility and the importance of giving to those who are less fortunate.

Project Giving Back 2014

Family Christian gave me the opportunity to do my giving back project this year by supplying me with a gift certificate to their stores so I could purchase items for those who were in need. Since this was a rather spur-of-the-moment project this year, I didn’t have any recipients lined up ahead of time. So, I went to my pastor and asked him if he knew of anyone we could bless with some special presents. 

He gave me the name of a boy whose family was going through a tough year and wasn’t getting much in the way of presents, as well as the names of two ladies who didn’t have much in the way of family and could use some cheering up. 

So, the day after Christmas, my husband and I packed up the two younger boys and we headed to our local Family Christian store. I figured that we would have enough to create the three gift bags and at least give these individuals a special Christmas. 

E works on putting some of the gifts together for the gifts.

We walked all around the store just taking in what was there. Since it was the day after Christmas Family Christian had a clearance sale going on. I was able to get some wonderful deals on items not only for the boy but also for the two ladies. In addition, because of the great deals we were able to get four additional gift bags.

Currently, my grandmother has been dealing with some health issues and currently is in a nursing home while she recovers and gets her medications sorted out. I decided to make up the three extra bags and take them to the nursing home for residents that may need some cheering up. 

givingback1We were able to pick up five copies of The Story for only $5 each. I figured this would be a good read for anyone who isn’t able to do a whole lot, but that it would also help spread The Message to those who might not be familiar with it and might really need it. I also was able to find five pretty coffee mugs to add to the package. I figured if any of these nursing home residents are anything like my grandmothers they enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea. Plus, these mugs have a great message!

givingback2Finding presents for the boy was easy. Since N is almost 12 we just channeled the sort of stuff he would like. We were able to pick up the radio-controlled car, head phones, and key chain all for 50% off. I also included a copy of The Story for him too as the Old Testament can be difficult for adults to understand, let alone teenagers. With The Story being written as a continuing story it is easier to understand. Plus, Casting Crowns’ newest CD, Thrive, was also on sale for $5 so we picked that up for him too. 

Three of the gifts are all packed up and ready to be delivered!
Three of the gifts are all packed up and ready to be delivered!

It felt so good to be able to do something to help others. It felt even better to be able to show my sons that Christmas isn’t just a time for getting, but most importantly, it is a time for thinking of others. We plan to do this again next year. Next year, we want to plan ahead so that we are able to bless even more people. 

I am so grateful to Family Christian for this opportunity. This is something that I feel will really have an impact on my boys over the years and will hopefully give them a heart for service. Those sort of things are invaluable. Thank you.

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