Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GivingTuesday™ :: Giving Our Best

Entering the house where the baby and Mary, his mother, were, they threw themselves down before him, worshiping. Then they opened their presents and gave him gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11, TLB

In her remarkable guide for children, The ADVENTure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions, Lisa Welchel takes families directly to God's word to help them discover the meaning behind all of the rituals, customs and festivities that compose our modern day observance of Christmas.  On page 44, the author takes readers back to the origins of exchanging gifts at this time of year.  While she acknowledges that most believe the custom of gift giving began with 3 wise men who traveled to Bethlehem to give the King of Kings his proper worship, Welchel reminds us that those magi only did what they did because God had first given lavishly to us.

We cannot out-give God.  Who of us would offer our one and only child for the sake of saving those who were at odds with us?  Yet, this incomprehensible, extravagant gift is exactly what our Creator gave to each of us hopeless sinners.  Before getting our act together; before we even thought God was worth our time; before we ever entertained the thought of stepping down as the center of our own universe, Jesus took on human form to pay the price for our nastiness.  Had our Savior not paid that price, the gap between our sinfulness and God's holiness would be far too great for us to ever fill through our own good works.  We would have been separated from heaven forever if not for Jesus.

That's a gift so beyond fathoming, that our natural inclination should be to return that gift to the best of our human abilities.  As 1 John 4:19 tells us, "We love because he first loved us." (NIV)  That love is most adequately expressed by giving our best, just like the magi.  We give by sacrificing time through thoughtful volunteerism.  We give of our talent when use our expertise for others benefit without any financial compensation in return.  And we give of our treasure when we offer funds that could have been used for our own pleasure, to bless another who needs that treasure far more than ourselves.  

Today is #GivingTuesday, a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the season, held on the Tuesday immediately after Thanksgiving.  Before we get sucked into all of the envy, avarice, and stress that the world's version of Christmas can bring, wouldn't it be more appropriate to pause, take a cleansing breath and remember God's great Gift by committing an intentional act of charity?  

All throughout the year Snappin' Ministries attempts to show the love of that Infant of Bethlehem in practical ways as we serve parents raising children with special needs.  Our Parent Mentor Program offers thorough training, support, and encouragement to parents trying to make their way on this difficult journey.  We ship gift baskets and gift cards all around the nation to parents surviving challenges that range from horrific IEPs to wearying hospitalizations.  Quarterly  free respite, fun family gatherings, and perpetually updated online resources are blessings that parents have come to rely on over the past decade.

What a difference this holiday season would be if we could count on you to become one of our "Dedicated Donors"!  We have an incredible Christmas Catalog that further details some stories from parents that we have helped, lists our "Valued Volunteers", and demonstrates the various ways you can make a difference.  Sharing our story with others on #GivingTuesdaycan make an incredible amount of difference as well.  Don't we all love to hear stories of hope, especially this time of year?  

As Lisa Welchel concludes her main entry on "Giving Gifts",
A long time ago, children of Holland would save their pennies all year long in a pig-shaped pot called a "feast pig."  (Yep, the ancestor of our piggy bank)  On the day after Christmas, they would break open the pig and give the money to the poor.  Giving to those who can't give back is the very best investment because it means the reward you receive will come directly from Jesus.  And nobody can ever give more than He gives!*
Friend, God is so worthy of giving our very best.  That giving as an act of love to those who can never repay it surely touches the heart of our Creator.  We hope you find us worthy of passing on some of what is in your piggy bank this year.  You can do so here.

PRAY:  Oh, how great the love that You have lavished on us, Father!  We know we cannot out-give You.  Yet, help us observe this holy season by honoring You through our generosity.  Thank You for all you give to us, so that it may pour through us to those who need to see Your love in tangible ways.

~ Barb Dittrich

*Welchel, Lisa (2004),The Adventure of Christmas:  Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions, Multinomah Publishers Inc, Sisters, OR 97759, p. 44

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF

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