One way we can model Christian caregiving at Christmas time is a tradition which we have done in our family for 20 years. Early in Advent, we send each child and grandchild the following letter:
Merry Christmas: As you know, one of our Christmas traditions each year is that we give each family member $100 to be used to improve the quality of life for others who are not as fortunate as we are. Please select a gift(s) and share some information about the gift when we gather on Christmas. Include: What is the gift? Who will receive the gift? Why is this gift important to the ones receiving it? Some possibilities:
We hope that you feel the joy which comes as a result of giving to others, and also know that you have honored Christ on His birthday by caring for those who are suffering. Love, Grandpa and Grandma
On Christmas, each person describes the gift which he or she has chosen, and how the gift will help to improve someone’s life. For example, one year our granddaughter decided to give a flock of chickens to a family in Bangladesh. She explained that this was an important gift because it provided protein to the family; and, the family could also sell the eggs to earn money.
On a large world map, the person indicates with a star sticker where her or his gift is going. He or she then lights a small votive candle which reminds us that we are called to be “lights” in God’s world. For other ideas on how to model the true meaning of Christmas with our families, see Alternative Gifts.
Photo Credit: Lauren Rushing