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.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Do you need a pig?? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

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!

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Scrooges at Christmas? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Why Christmas?

gift_1.jpgWhile you look forward to unwrapping your gifts this Christmas I thought I’d help you unwrap the real Christmas story.

We all enjoy giving and receiving gifts on Christmas Day but it’s important that we take time to remember what Christmas is really all about. It’s more than just the gifts and the jolly man in the red suit. It’s more than a ‘feeling’ or ‘spirit’ that makes us feel warm inside. It’s more than time with family enjoying good food and good times.

While it’s generally accepted that the 25th of December isn’t the actual date that Jesus was born, it’s the day that has been chosen for celebrating Jesus’ birthday. That means Christmas is really a big birthday party.

So why should we be invited to the birthday party? Jesus was born around 2000 years ago. Why do we still celebrate his birth?

Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In fact, and this is where it gets tricky, according to the Bible, Jesus is actually God in human form so this is no ordinary birthday.

Here’s a little bit of the Christmas story from the Bible. This account is from a book of the Bible written by a guy named Luke.

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no vacancy for them.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Aha! So that’s where the manger and the shepherds come in.

That’s pretty much the story of Christmas. God living among the people he created. It’s an amazing thought but it’s even more amazing when you thread the whole story of Jesus’ life together. After all, usually when we celebrate someone’s birthday we don’t just remember the day they were born, we celebrate who that person has become and what they’ve brought to the world.

If we’re still celebrating the life of someone born around 2000 years ago, we’ve got to assume that they lived a remarkable life. If you want to find out more about the remarkable life of Jesus, I’d encourage you to grab a Bible in an easy to read translation and then read one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) to find out about Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Why Christmas?? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Staying Out of the Doghouse

Very funny.

Have you ever been in the doghouse?

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Staying Out of the Doghouse? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Buyer Beware

Guys, that new mop/floor cleaning thingy they’re selling in the middle of the mall of the Galleria Shopping Centre may well be as wonderful and as revolutionary as they say it is ….. but buy one as a Christmas gift for the lady in your life and don’t expect to live to see Boxing Day.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Buyer Beware? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.