24 Ways to “Give This Christmas Away”

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In the words of Jesus “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)  and nothing could be more true when it comes to giving at Christmas time.  The novelty of receiving gifts quickly wanes, while the blessing that comes from giving is much more fulfilling for our souls. 

I recently picked up a book called “101 simple and thoughtful ways to Give This Christmas Away” by Matthew West.  Here are some highlights from the book, if you want more, you will have to check it out!

1. Take a second look at that old shoe box (for Operation Christmas Child)
9. Be an angel of the night (shovel snow for someone else at night)
12. Set an extra plate at the dinner table
13. Help those who help others
18. Give the shirt off your back (or jacket)
24. It’s payback time (pay back an outstanding debt you have with someone)
32. Pass the buck (hide money in public places for strangers)
33. Volunteer at a homeless shelter after Christmas (not just around the holidays)
35. Collect a cart (return stray grocery carts or help someone with theirs)
43. Invite a friend to church
44. Leave a message (sing a Christmas song on someone’s voicemail)
50. Have an advent-ure (do things each day of advent)
51. Cross the big one off your list (remove the most expensive thing off of your own wish list)
52. Bake an extra dozen
60. Lose your cool (don’t worry about being cool)
64. Give what they want, not what you want for them
73. Give a goat
81. Give your teenagers the opportunity to shine
84. Surprise the angels (check out the Angel Tree program)
88. Read the name tag
89. Park in the back (leave good parking spaces for others)
100. Give them a glimpse of Jesus
101. Fill in the blank

And what is my “fill in the blank”? 

#102 Host an orphan

Giving your Christmas away is a big thing, you literally may have to give many things up in order to invite an orphan into your home.  You may have to give up some of your savings; your children may have to be willing to give up some of their gifts; you may have to give up some holiday traditions because they may overstimulate or trigger a fragile and traumatized child; you may have to give up a guest room; you may have to give up sleep; you may have to give up the comfort of your typical holiday routine. 

Christmas 2010

But, let me tell you, the blessing you receive in return is so much greater than what you may have to give up. If you have hosted before, share in the comments how you have been blessed by giving your Christmas (or summer) to an orphan.

It’s not too late to give your Christmas away!  New Horizons for Children is signing up host families for this December until Monday November 3rd at midnight (EST).   Visit the Facebook page to see photos and stories of real children who are waiting for someone to give the gifts of Christmas, family, love, and Jesus to them.

Then he said to them,
“Anyone who welcomes a little child
like this on my behalf welcomes me,
and anyone who welcomes me
also welcomes my Father who sent me.
Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”

Luke 9:48 (NLT)

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Why Give?

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We have been supported by so many great partners along this journey already!  Lately I have been thinking back to my first post about this trip – Fear of Fundraising.  I had so many fears about why this should not work out… but it has in so many ways! 

I’ve been so blessed by everyone’s willingness to partner with our mission.  It’s so great to get a donation, but in the last few weeks I asked some people what specifically prompted them to give. The answers have been so encouraging to me… just to see how each person’s generosity came from a different place in their heart. 

WhyGive01

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This is just a little glimpse at the heart behind some of our supporters! We still have several hundred dollars that need to be raised by June 5th! Will you join these friends in helping us get to Ukraine?

You can give easily and securely online –http://fnd.us/c/5W3p3

…and feel free to comment explaining why you give. =)

 

‘Tis the Season– “We love because He first loved us”

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‘Tis the season… for many things!  ‘Tis the season for parties, decorations, gifts, happiness, snow, giving, celebration, family, and fun.  And so much more!  Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, who was sent by God for all humankind.  God gave us the greatest gift of all because of his great, never-ending love for us.

Those are my 2 favorite things to see in action at Christmas time – giving & love.  For me, that is the best way to celebrate the season, by following God’s example and sharing those things with others just as He did for us. 

There’s one special way that you can give and show love to an awesome teen this Christmas.  Sasha, my future brother, is spending one last Christmas in a Ukrainian orphanage this year.   The rest of our family is at home preparing for his soon-coming arrival.  And you can help make that arrival Sasha is dreaming of become a reality.

This Christmas, my family is sending out an extra card along with our Christmas cards.  It explains how God has brought this special young man into our lives, the journey we have started to adopt him, the great financial need to make it happen, & an opportunity for you to help. 

Click for full PDF

Click the photo above to see the entire card.

Please take a look at our card and consider if there’s a way you could demonstrate the spirit of the season by giving and loving a Ukrainian orphan this Christmas.

We appreciate all of your prayers, love, and support throughout this journey!

paypal-donate-button

To Donate – Follow this link and click the yellow “Donate” button. 
Once you get to the “Review Your Donation” page,
please click “Add Special Instruction to Seller” and type “¢ozza Family Adoption”.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
   God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:7-19 (NIV)

Hosting Reflection #12–The Challenge & Joy of Giving Big

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Let’s just be honest, hosting an orphan is hard.  It requires a lot.  It’s a huge commitment to take in a child for 5 weeks and to parent them and love them as one of your own children. 

handsIt takes time.  Not only the 4-5 weeks of hosting but several weeks and moths beforehand to prepare bedrooms, compile a wardrobe, plan outings, and attend training.

It takes money. Yes, yes, I said it.  It’s quite common to find yourself spending thousands of dollars before and during hosting.

It takes heart.  Your heart will break.  It starts when you read their stories and see their faces on the computer screen, continues when you finally meet them and get to know them, and lasts far beyond the time that you must send them back on an airplane to an orphanage or foster home on the other side of the world.  A piece of your heart will forever be with your host child. 

You find yourself constantly giving and striving to give more than you ever have before to these children who have never been given anything good out of love. 

People around you will see your heart and committed passion for ‘the least of these.’  Some may be shocked and awed by all you are willing to give.  All that you have sacrificed. 

At least that’s what I can say from my experience.  Many people were ‘impressed’ that a grad student would do so much for Sasha, when I could be doing so many other things with my time and money.  Honestly, the complements and ‘pats on the back’ I received were a dime a dozen… what really meant the most to me were the people who were inspired to do something similar. 

I mean, I was grateful for people’s kind words and commendations but more than that, I was somewhat disconcerted.   I do not want people to get get warm fuzzy feelings about someone they know loving an orphan, I would so much rather you be willing to take on the challenge, and personally experience the joy and honor it is to love these children for yourself.

Why is it so hard to believe that someone in my situation would give in such a way?  What has happened to true sacrifice and giving with a joyful heart?  Why is it so rare to see ‘Christians’ really step out in faith and really do something?  When did we decide that giving needed to be effortless?

Nothing annoys me more than this trend I see of ‘easy giving.’  Churches have websites where you can pay your tithe online with a credit card.  TV commercials make claims that you can change a starving child’s life by giving only 5¢ a month.  People are given a pat on the back with a big smile when they decide to give a few extra dollars because they felt like it

OK, so those are all exaggerations, but I hope you see my point.  Doing big things for God is not made to be easy.  I will always remember a quote my super-super-supervisor at work, Alton Garrison shared “The hole you give through, is the hole you receive through.”  When you give little, you will get little in return.  When you give much, you will receive more than you can imagine.  As it says in Luke 6:38 – “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (NLT) 

And for me, I have received abundantly from orphan hosting, just in the blessing and joy it has been to be involved in our host boy’s life. 

So to you, I say Give Big.  It does not have to be for orphans in Eastern Europe.  It can be for homeless people in your neighborhood, African children stricken with AIDS, abused animals, our neglected environment, an abandoned girl in an Asian country, a city demolished by a tornado… anything!  Whatever God leads you to, do not hesitate to pursue that calling and give it your all.  Don’t be afraid of what He might do through you!

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.
Romans 13:8

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