Change a Life this Christmas

I love receiving gifts. I love the unwrapping and the excitement of having something shiny and new. I also love the fact that people care enough to choose something for me. It doesn’t matter if the gifts are big or small … it really is the thought that counts for me.

I love giving gifts. I’ll admit that do I worry about the gifts I give. I wonder whether they’ll be suitable and appreciated but when I manage to choose the right gift, it’s a beautiful thing.

With Christmas just around the corner I know that there’ll be a fair bit of giving and receiving in the coming weeks.

While many gifts are fun, there are some that are absolutely life changing.

Gifts of Compassion

Gifts of Compassion are real goods and services given to children and families in Compassion child development centres around the world when you purchase an item from the Gifts of Compassion catalogue. For every Gift of Compassion you order, you will receive a gift card to personalise for your friends and loved ones.

Funds raised from the Gifts of Compassion catalogue are used to support Compassion’s Critical Needs, which remove obstacles to children’s development and implement preventative action. These interventions include providing safe water, disaster relief, emergency medical care, vocational training, infrastructure, and much more: all issues that need to be addressed for a child to be released from poverty.

Compassion Australia uses Gifts of Compassion funds to meet the project needs represented in the catalogue.

It concerns me that while I’m enjoying lovely new things that I don’t really need, there are people in many parts of the world that don’t have the basics that they need to get on with the daily task of just keeping their families alive.

If Christmas is about celebrating Jesus, surely we should be doing something that honours him and his desire that we care for the poor, rather than overindulging while most of the world goes without.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we should all be miserable and not fully enter into the celebrations at this time of year.

Balance

I suppose that’s where we all need some kind of balance between the giving and receiving of gifts between friends and loved ones and our wider responsibility to those in need around the world. We live in a global village but most of the villagers are missing out. Those of us who’ve been blessed by simply being born in the right place should spare a thought for those who only ask for the gift of life this Christmas.

I might not have a lot of use for a goat but for a rural family in a developing country the simple gift of a goat could be just what they need to be released from poverty.

Compassion

So where do you buy a goat and how do you get it to someone who needs it? Compassion Australia’s Gifts of Compassion is open and ready for business. That’s where you can buy gifts that help people who are battling desperate poverty. They can take your money and turn it into a very real solution to poverty.

You can buy everything from a chicken to mosquito nets and lots more in between including goats, cows, tooth brushes, sewing machines and baby vaccinations.

Your support really does make a difference.

I’ve visited churches partnering with Compassion in seven of the 25 countries where Compassion is working and I can personally vouch for the fact that it makes a difference. When you support those in poverty through Compassion, the aid really does make it to those who need it. In fact, it was after seeing the work of Compassion that I decided that I would do all I could to advance their work which is why I’ve now been working full-time for Compassion for just over four years.

This Christmas I do want to receive something for myself, wrapped in thought and love, but I also hope that someone will give me a goat or a chicken or some clean water for someone I’ll never meet.

What about you?

Go on … you’ve thought about it before but unless you let your loved ones know now it’ll never happen. Ask those you love to buy something for someone else this Christmas.

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Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

It might be Christmas Eve 2015 where you are but here in Perth it’s well and truly Christmas Day.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy day as you celebrate Christmas wherever you are in the world. Many will be experiencing a cold, and some even a white Christmas, but here in Perth, Western Australia, we have a warm summer day forecast. It won’t be as hot as some previous years but we’ll still be up around 28 degrees Celsius which is around 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remember to pace yourself throughout the day so that you don’t regret it all tomorrow and don’t forget to take time out to reflect on what Christmas is truly all about.

Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men. – Luke 2:14

We went to a Christmas Eve service at church last night. It was a delight to be part of a simple yet profound time of remembering what this day means. We’ll be catching up with family for a big Christmas dinner this evening.

I’d really love to hear how you’ll be celebrating. Please leave a comment or two to let me know.

I know that Christmas can also bring sadness as we think about those that aren’t around the table this year. It’s been many years since we’ve shared Christmas with my dad and even longer since mum was around. They’ll be missed once again. For some people, it’s the first year without someone close. Sometimes, as in my case, it’s because that person has passed away, yet for others it can be a breakdown in relationships that will leave an empty chair this Christmas.

Whatever your situation, my prayer is that the joy of Christmas and what it means will still break through into your life on this special day.

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All I Want for Christmas …

Once again, I’m conflicted. If I’m honest, I don’t really need anything for Christmas. If no one bought me a gift for Christmas, or any other occasion, I could survive. In fact not just survive but continue to thrive.

The conflict comes from the fact that I still enjoy receiving gifts. I love the unwrapping and the excitement of having something shiny and new. I also love the fact that people care enough to choose something for me.

It concerns me that while I’m enjoying lovely new things that I don’t really need, there are people in many parts of the world that don’t have the basics that they need to get on with the daily task of just keeping their families alive.

Balance

I suppose that’s where we all need some kind of balance between the giving and receiving of gifts between friends and loved ones and our wider responsibility to those in need around the world. We live in a global village but most of he villagers are missing out. Those of us who’ve been blessed by simply being born in the right place should spare a thought for those who only ask for the gift of life this Christmas.

I might not have a lot of use for a pig but for a rural family in a developing country the simple gift of a pig could be just what they need to break free from poverty.

Compassion

So where do you buy a pig and how do you get it to someone who needs it? Compassion Australia’s Gifts of Compassion is open and ready for business. Their gifts help people who are battling desperate poverty. They can take your money and turn it into a very real solution to poverty.

You can buy everything from mosquito nets to a mechanic workshop with lots more in between including chickens, cows, sewing machines and a kit to help new mums.

SIMaid

Maybe you’d prefer to buy a gift through SIMaid. Their online gift catalogue has a variety of gifts that will make a major difference for someone who could do with some of that Christmas spirit we hear so much about at this time of year.

Your support really does make a difference.

I’ve travelled overseas with Compassion to see their work and in less than two weeks I’ll be ave.ling to see the work at SIMaid is doing to help the long healing process for girls rescued from forced prostitution. I can personally vouch for both these organisations. When you give them your money, the aid really does make it to those who need it.

This Christmas I do want to receive something for myself, wrapped in thought and love, but I also hope that someone will give me a pig or a chicken or a toiletry kit for someone I’ll never meet.

What about you?

Go on … you’ve thought about it before but unless you let your loved ones know now it’ll never happen. Ask those you love to buy something for someone else this Christmas.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading All I Want for Christmas …? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂

Do you need a pig?

You might not have a lot of use for a pig but for a rural family in a developing country the simple gift of a pig could be just what they need to break free from poverty.

So where do you buy a pig and how do you get it to someone who needs it? Compassion Australia’s Gifts of Compassion is open and ready for business. Their gifts help people who are battling desperate poverty. They can take your money and turn it into a very real solution to poverty.

You can buy everything from mosquito nets to a mechanic workshop with lots more in between including chickens, cows, sewing machines and a kit to help new mums.

I know that it’s wonderful to receive gifts at Christmas but most of us already have more than enough ‘stuff’, so why not do something different this year and let your friends and family know that you’d like them to choose something from Gifts of Compassion for your Christmas gift this year?

Go on … you’ve thought about it before but unless you let your loved ones know now it’ll never happen.

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Scrooges at Christmas

I spotted this headline this morning – Shoppers turn Scrooge as cost-of-living pressures bite into retail spending. My immediate thought was, “really?”

Why should people be labeled as scrooges when they’re simply trying to live within their means? Why should we be forced to spend more than we can afford to give things that most people don’t need?

The article tells us about the ‘desperate’ state of Christmas shopping this year.

THERE will be fewer – and cheaper – gifts under the Christmas tree this year because cost-of-living pressures are forcing Australians to rethink their shopping habits.

Extravagant shopping sprees on credit are being replaced with thrifty gifts and worries about being able to afford a decent feast for the family, an exclusive online survey of more than 1000 Daily Telegraph readers found.

About 30 per cent of people plan to spend no more than $50 on gifts for each family member this Christmas, with 15 per cent budgeting less than $20 per present.

I know that we all love to treat our loved ones and that gift giving is a wonderful part of our relationships, but if all we take out of Christmas is a desire to outspend each other we’ve missed the point. It’s a vicious circle that has us feeling more and more stressed and makes Christmas a time we’d rather avoid.

What if we started to think differently? What if we took the lead of organisations like Compassion and gave gifts that were not only appreciated but life changing?

Most of us here in Australia have more than enough “stuff” in our lives, yet each birthday and Christmas we find ourselves cramming more well-intentioned gifts into our cupboards. But what if you could give—and receive—gifts that meant something special to your family and friends, but also to children who have far less stuff than they need? That is the genius of Gifts of Compassion!

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