I'm happy that so many folks are attempting to re-imagine what Christmas could be this year. It is such a tricky time of loving sentiment and gross materialism. How have these two merged so? And what are we to do in the thick of it?
Will has some good gift-giving ideas here.
Another friend sent me this link.
Also, my friend Melvin sent me this in an email. I thought it was worth posting here.
In this Advent season the hearts of those who follow in the way of Jesus can't but feel ambivalence as we celebrate the coming of the world's lord and saviour to bring "peace on earth" and "goodwill to all humanity" and then must acknowledge our shortcomings in not doing all we can to make this dream of God, which God has entrusted to us, a reality. The Love Your Neighbor Advent Campaign is just one small way we might make God's missional hopes come true.
Two summers ago I met a young man, Elias D'eis, at a Peace Workshop. Elias is a 20-something-year-old Palestinian from a town you might recognize, Bethlehem (of Judea). He is working to bring about peace in his homeland through his social service work with children and entrepreneurial work with young adults. Peace is more difficult that most of us are even capable of imagining when everyday those who live in the region must wake up and face the very real possibility that some member of their household will not return home that evening. Can you imagine? As I heard him tell his story my heart broke. We were sitting in a circle sharing what we were grateful for as we brought our Peace Workshop to a close. I will never forget that Elias thanked us for giving him a brief space in time where he could feel safe and know hope. I want to invite us to help Elias provide moments of safety and hope for other Palestinian and Israeli children.
The concept is simple, yet unique. I am inviting you and your constituencies to give a monetary gift that is a multiple of 12 ($120... $240... $360...). Why 12? Because for every $12 dollars, $6 will purchase a gift for a Palestinian child who frequents the YMCA where Elias works and the other $6 will purchase a gift for that Palestinian child to give to an Israeli child. Imagine with me the goodwill that might be engendered should the next generation of Israeli and Palestinian children grow up giving gifts to one another. Imagine further how the cause of peace would be abetted should these young people become pen pals sharing their lives with each other. The opportunity to be a small part of embracing Israel and Palestine in the peace and goodwill that the birth of Jesus was intended to hail brings tears to my eyes.
If you'd like to donate, go to his Kid's Cultivators site and scroll down to the donate link.