(Kind of a long post but hopefully you'll get some good ideas!)
While at Pizza Hut on Friday night we were talking about Christmas and one of the boys said we could act out the Christmas play and was telling each of us who we could be in the play . . . Tatum was adament about being Mary. She then told all of us, "I will be Mary and I'll tell baby Jesus (she changed her voice and acted like she was holding a baby) it's okay I will save you!"
STOP! WAIT! WRONG!
I think she's getting her super hero stories and acting skills mixed up in the story.
We laughed and I said, "Actually it's the other way around He was born to save us!"
Ian said, "Right, we don't save him, he saves us."
That's what this season is about . . . Jesus coming to earth to ultimately save us!!!
In the spirit of that we should be looking around to see how we can become involved in what He is doing in the world.
How can we GIVE within our homes, locally and globally to meet people's needs.
I know we all feel strapped right now.
I feel broke.
But the truth is if we have a car to drive, a place to lay our head, a computer to work on, a house with running water, or a tv to turn on we are RICH!
Their are so many options.
My advice is to pick a couple things and invest in them.
Involve your kids!
GIVING to NEEDYHere are a couple organizations that we have participated in and are sound and do amazing things. Click on the red links for information.
www.charitywater.org -- I referred to this one on several other posts. Give WATER, help build a well. You can give to this through the site. In addition to the site several blogging ladies are organizing an amazing event from Dec. 14- Dec. 18. They are creating 100 handmade items and grouping them into baskets. You purchase a raffle ticket for $10 which goes towards building the well and then your names goes into a drawing for one of the baskets. Find out more information at firstname.lastname@example.org Their is a button on the side of my blog to take you to it.
www.samaritanspurse.org / Operation Christmas child -- You fill shoe boxes full with gifts that they then send to kids all over the world. This is a great one to do WITH your kids. If you act fast you can still participate this year.
I have great memories of Ian and I filling a shoebox together when he was 3. In the store, he kept saying, "Ryan would like this one. Ryan likes blue. Ryan needs this." Ian did not know anyone named Ryan and we obviously didn't know the name of the kid our box would go to. When I asked him who Ryan was he said, "Ryan is the boy who is getting our box." I don't know if a Ryan got our box but I know Ian had grasped the concept and this boy would feel that love! This year Tatum kept saying, "I want this for my girl and this for me!"
World Vision -- You choose an item, most are animals and livestock, to purchase for someone in a third world country. Last year our church did this on a large scale with the children's ministry department. The older kids raised money to buy a cow and our preschoolers raised money to buy baby chicks. We brought in baby chicks and everything to help get the point across. This year my kids spent time looking through the magazine and each picked an animal. We then cut the picture out and put it on a jar and started saving money. We've decided not to purchase our items this year. Originally Jason and I were going to cover the difference but the kids are really participating in this and we think it would be great to do it throughout the year and for next Christmas for our jar to really be full. We may actually buy the whole cow Tatum picked out instead of just a share of it.
Check your local needs and find ways to get involved. Shelters, Salvation Army, Angel Tree, etc. You don't have to go through an organization either. Just look around at the needs of others and give. You can even give anonymously. This is always a joy - to both the giver and receiver!
This is the other thing I LOVE to do. My kids really do like to give . . . they really LOVE to receive too so it's nice when they can focus on the giving for awhile. We've done sibling gifts three different ways.
#1 - When they were real young I bought cheapo toys and have them "shop" in my bedroom. I think I read the idea in a magazine somewhere. They came in individually and I had things priced for .50 cents etc. They all had their little ziplock of change from their piggy banks. I traded out the toys each time so they never saw the items that would be picked for them.
#2 - Last year they each took $5 and we took them one at a time into the Dollar Store (the one where everything is ACTUALLY a $1). The other kids played at a play land across the street with Jason. They picked something out for each sibling and for Jason and I. This was my absolute FAVORITE way of doing sibling gifts. The kids really like finding things that fit each person. I know they loved our gifts last year but when they exchanged sibling gifts I think they had more joy and excitement in the giving and receiving than any other gift and they were all $1 toys!! I'm still looking at the porcelian angel on my dresser that Carter gave me. I'm sure Jason already used up his batteries that one of the boys bought him. HA!
#3 - This year we had the kids draw names. We're heading to Walmart today and they'll each pick a gift for the person whose name they drew. We've had to put a price limit because they are all about getting a great gift for their sibling. I've heard them all talking in their rooms about ideas for days. So fun!
Read this great article to help keep things in perspective!
Have FUN GIVING this year!!!