Every couple of years, starting in 1984, I have encouraged Charisma readersâ€”much as I am now with Ministry Today readersâ€”to do what my wife, Joy, and I have done for years. And that is, give a tithe of what we spend at Christmas to the poor.
This was etched in my mind as a child when my parents asked my brother and sister and I to pick a gift from the many we'd received and give it to a family in our church that didn't have much. I don't remember details, but I think the dad was out of work. I can't remember what I gave. But I can remember going to their house to give them our gifts and how happy they seemed.
Christmas is about giving. It's when God gave His Son. And didn't the tradition of gift-giving originate with the Magi, who gave gifts to the Christ child?
Yet Christmas has become an orgy of consumer spending. Many retailers make most of their annual profit at Christmastime. Even as believers we tend to get caught up in the world's values of buying gifts. Usually our purchases are for loved ones who already probably have much more than they need.
The antidote, I believe, is to be proactive, to consciously give to the poor and to encourage others to do the same. When I first urged Charisma readers in 1984, and in many December issues since then, to give to worthwhile ministries at Christmas, it was because I believe that in giving to "the least of these My brethren," as Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, you're giving to Christ Himself.
A practical suggestion on how to do this is to give a tithe of what you spend on others. So if you spend $1,000 at Christmas on gifts, determine you'll give $100. My family does this. Over the years we've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, much of it through Christian Life Missions, our nonprofit partner. If every reader of Charisma and Ministry Today gave only $5, it would total more than $1 million this year.
As a way to focus attention on ministries you can bless this Christmas, and to make it easy to give, we have included this section that shows the ministries supported through Christian Life Missions, the nonprofit partner we've worked with for more than 25 years. Every penny you donate through Christian Life Missions will go to the ministry you choose. If you give through Christian Life Missions, your gift will be sent to the ministry and you will receive a receipt for income-tax purposes.
There are many other ministries or needs you can give to. It doesn't matter so much whom you give to, but that you do give and do it as unto the Lord. We believe it will make all the difference in the way you celebrate Christ's birth this year. Click here for more information on Christian Life Missions.
Also, starting Thursday, Dec. 8, be sure to visit the Ministry Today website for touching articles and features on Christmas as we focus on celebrating Christ's birth.