Yesterday I read (watched) Mike's post concerning an Advent Conspiracy. (Sounds subversive...I LOVE the image of undercover agents dressed in Santa suits!) And today I received some snail mail concerning the idea of "redefining Christmas" which has been the topic of some on-line discussion over at the Chicago Tribune. I haven't poked around a whole lot but I'm wondering if this idea is one that is growing. I know it's growing on me.
For any of you planning to buy Yours Truly a gift this year I don't need a new shirt, new pair of pants, new tie, or a new trinket to add to my already overcrowded desk. New tools will simply be misplaced by my well intentioned children or misused by my wife's well intentioned husband ;-). New books...well now, let's not get carried away!
Allow me to make a few suggestions for your gift giving this year.
Make Way Partners is taking on the monstrous problem of human trafficking and forced prostitution. Be sure to check out "Mary's crosses" as a way to donate and give!
Play Pumps International gets my award for the most innovative and creative idea for changing the quality of life for people. Their catch phrase, "Kids play, water pumps" sums it up. Clean water and free time for people to focus on other issues like education, labor, creative endeavors.
Voice of the Martyrs gives voice to otherwise un-reported or under reported abuse, violence, and persecution of Christians throughout the world. Have YOU heard about the incredible attacks in Orissa, India? Probably not. You can read about them here and your donation will help some of these families survive.
1 Way Ministries has a simple mission, "Reach the world, teach the Word." JT and his team are helping churches in the U.S. to engage people down the street and around the world. Give them a look and pray about sharing with them.
Mission Team Inc. has a scholarship program for first time mission trip takers. It would make my day if someone gave to this fund! I LOVE to see people take that first step of obedience with missions; it is a life changing moment!
Let me not forget...
The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. I know of no better way to touch more people with the hope of the gospel than this offering. Supporting more than 5000 missionaries who are making a difference in the here and now through medical clinics, water projects, disaster relief efforts, and educational opportunities as well as making a difference in the hereafter with over 600,000 baptisms reported last year. Give so others may hear.
The Alabama Baptist Children's Homes are a constellation of ministries that make me proud to be an Alabama Baptist. Your donation will help transform the life of "throw away" child or an abused youth. The stories of hope and redemption are humbling.
Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief responds to disasters all over the world. Following the 9/11 tragedy, Alabama Baptists, and others like them, became the "preferred" clean up teams because the good people of New York learned they could trust them not to steal the things in their homes (apparently companies for hire had some problems with this...). Southern Baptist disaster relief is the third largest disaster relief organization in the US behind the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Your donation will make a difference the next time disaster strikes.
There's a short wish list. May your Christmas be filled with giving.