The Gift of Giving. . .

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:15-17

Good morning!

I know that the holiday season truly comes and goes so fast. I wanted to share some simple ways that you can give this holiday season before it passes all of us by! As I’ve become a parent, I have this urgency to hold tightly to the promises and goodness found in God and His word and keep that the focus during the Thanksgiving season, and carry this into the Christmas season as we prepare to celebrate the greatest gift God could ever give us, our savior, and His one and only Son.

It’s a tricky balance, though! How to celebrate and be excited for everything else that goes into the holiday season while still keeping the focus on the significant? How to give good gifts to our children, while keeping the focus on the giver of all good gifts?

It’s something I have been thinking about lately, and as Dakota and I have started to celebrate these holidays with our children now, is definitely something we have begun navigating together. We don’t really have “traditions” formed yet around these holidays so to say… but I know those will come with time. Or maybe they won’t! I don’t ever want there to be a pressure to “do” any certain thing each year for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I DO want to always keep fixing my children’s eyes on the things that truly matter this time of year, though. The most important thing I want our children to remember each Thanksgiving and Christmas (and always) is to be thankful to God, the giver of all good gifts that we don’t deserve, yet still provides… especially the greatest gift He could ever give us, His son.

I think if there is one “Tradition” we do as a family, I want it to be an activity that we can all do together as a way to serve others during this season. So, I’ve been thinking about all sorts of different ways to do that. I wanted to share some of the ways to give this season that I came up with. Hopefully they not only encourage you to think about how you can give this season, but blesses your entire family and others in the process. And if you know another great charity to give to, please comment and share below! Sharing is caring! 🙂

w a y s  t o  g i v e . . .

  1. Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child **NATIONAL COLLECTING WEEK NOV 12-19**

This begins this week already!! It doesn’t take long, though! A little about Samaritans Purse:

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. -Mission Statement taken from Samaritan Purse website

Surrounded around Luke 10:30-37… They have SO many ministry projects ranging from women’s health, children’s ministry, international crisis response, operation heal our patriots, animals/ agriculture/ livelihoods, to Operation Christmas Child!

Operation Christmas Child is a way we are giving this holiday season. I plan to take the kids to Walmart this week with me to “fill” our shoeboxes. We received our shoeboxes from church, but any shoe-sized box will do. On their website they tell you all about how to pack your shoebox, what to pack after you decide if it is for a boy or girl:

“Select a medium to large “wow” item such as a soccer ball with pump or stuffed animal, then fill with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies.”

The two “don’t forget” items include putting a $9 donation in your shoebox to cover shipment + other ministry expenses and to NOT include toothpaste or candy in your box! Then they ask you to pray for the child who will receive the gift (what a special thing to do with your children!), and if you want to, you can send a personal note or photo of your family in your box, so they can see who gifted them! 🙂

Don’t have time to get out this week before collecting week is finished? You can have them create and send off a box for you on their website! How awesome is that? For $25, they will pack the box for you and gift it to a child. I think that the entire process is what will be most impactful on you and your kiddos… but, if you wanted to give and running short on time, this is totally a great way to do so! 🙂

If this feels trivial and you’re wondering how on earth do these boxes make an impact and help to advance the gospel? Read this segment from the “journey of the shoebox” section:

Long before shoeboxes arrive in more than 100 countries, volunteer National Leadership Teams train pastors and community leaders who want to share the message of the Gospel and bless children. The leaders learn how to host child-friendly outreach events, and how to implement The Greatest Journey follow-up discipleship program. Pastors around the world host shoebox distributions in places where people may not know Christ and invite them to follow Him. Other churches use the boxes as resources for outreach in orphanages and other at-risk areas. In many places, they also offer The Greatest Gift, a Gospel story booklet Samaritan’s Purse developed for shoebox recipients. As a result of what they learn in The Greatest Journey, boys and girls grow in Christ and share with friends and family. The students also invite others to their graduations where the Gospel is shared. This often brings parents, siblings, and friends to accept Christ and become active members in the local church. Families are reached, churches grow, new churches are started, and communities are transformed. Go Deeper →

I loved reading this. It was encouraging and comforting to read. Knowing that my gifts will only ADD to the more important work that is already being done, wherever I am entrusting God in sending this box to the child He’s already picked to receive it! Would you join me this week?

2. The Salvation Army + Bell Ringing

Another great way to give with your whole family – volunteer to be bell ringers together and spread some holiday cheer while raising money to meet the needs of your neighbors, locally and nationally through the Salvation Army!

A little about The Salvation Army:

  • The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
  • The Salvation Army is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. -Taken from the Salvation Army Website

Their website allows you to click your area to find out where you can find a red kettle near you to either donate to, OR how to sign up to become a bell ringer at a kettle near you! You can click right here to find that out! I would love to do that with my crew one day in the future!

3. Feed My Starving Children 

A great activity to do with your whole family to volunteer your time packing boxes of food for children and communities in need around the world. A little about FMSC:

Kids and adults of all ages hand-pack nutritious MannaPack™ meals specifically designed to assist in reversing and preventing undernutrition. Volunteering occurs at our permanent sites and hundreds of MobilePack™ events nationwide.

I have loved doing this with my soccer team in years prior. It is such an encouraging time knowing you are helping a hungry child. It breaks my heart thinking about this even… a child hungry. I take for granted often the accessibility I have all day long to food, and I hope one day, my children know how very blessed they are and have a heart to serve and help those who are hungry, or afflicted in other ways around the world and in their communities. I am always moved to tears by the success stories that they share of the children who look and feel like an entirely new child thanks to these meals! It is so motivating before packing boxes!

As a Christian non-profit organization, Feed My Starving Children is called to feed God’s starving children hungry in body and spirit.

You will hear us say this again and again: “We want to reach everyone, until ALL are fed.” We truly mean this. This means reaching the hard-to-reach people and places, the “least of these.” They will be found, and they will be fed.

With God’s help we will work together with organizations and ministries across the globe to end hunger. -FMSC Mission Statement taken from their website

This is a great opportunity to talk about the body of Christ with your children, having a heart for “the least of these” just as Jesus did, and serving others you may never know or meet for the cause of Christ. It is a great thing to do with your whole family, a way to spend a date with your spouse/boyfriend, fellowship time with others from your church! On their website you can search for the nearest FMSC near you to pack some food boxes during this giving season!

4. Unicef

Donating is a way to help UNICEF work in 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential, from early childhood through adolescence. And we never give up.

UNICEF has been around for a long time, and helps to:

  • promote policies and expand access to services that protect all children
  • help reduce child mortality all over the world by working to reach the most vulnerable children, everywhere.
  • work around the world to support quality learning for every girl and boy, especially those in greatest danger of being left behind.

  • before, during, and after emergencies, working to reach children and families with lifesaving aid and long-term assistance.

  • work all over the world to empower girls and women, and to ensure their full participation in political, social, and economic systems.
  • work with partners in every sector to co-create innovative solutions that accelerate progress for children and young people.
  • delivers sustainable access to lifesaving supplies where they are most needed, accelerating results for the most vulnerable children.
  • global programmes and initiatives grounded in rigorous research and thoughtful analysis about the situation of children.
-All of these were taken directly from the Unicef “what we do” page!
A little about WWP…
The Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Annual Warrior Survey provides WWP-registered warriors an opportunity to be heard. Every year, we use insightful facts gained from the survey questionnaire to shape existing programs and develop new ones. It remains one of the largest, most statistically relevant annual samples of veterans and service members injured post-9/11. -Taken from “who we are” tab on WWP website
WWP does an array of great things for their soldiers- ranging from benefits, to stress recovery programs (so important with PTSD continually growing), family support, independence programs, physical health and wellness, peer support, to warrior to work–seeking to help our veterans transition from serving to finding a career.
With Veterans Day today, and my dad being a veteran himself, this is another great opportunity to invest in an organization that strives to take care of those who willingly volunteered and continue to volunteer their service and lives to take care of and protect our great nation.
These are just a few ways to give this season. I hope this stirs up a call to action in your heart to give in some capacity this season and to create memories with your children that will impact them always.
with love,
from courtney
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