Monday, December 7, 2009
The Heart of the Christmas Card
I recently read an article on the story behind the classic show, "A Christmas Carol". The story itself was pretty cool. But one thing that made me search the web was a brief sentence in the article speaking of the first Christmas card ever designed and sent . I searched google, and found it ! The above card was designed in London by a man named Henry Cole in 1843. Now here is what I thought was cool about it.... The card was designed to call those materially blessed to involve themselves in "clothing the naked" (portrayed on the right of the card), and "feeding the hungry" (portrayed on the left side of the card). In the middle would be you and me, I guess.
I wish this card was still in print. If so, I'd send it. Instead, I choose to blog.
This year my heart is pained more than ever before of the social injustices that are in our world today. My heart is hurting and my mind is numbed by the statistics such as, "2 children per minute are trafficked for sexual exploitation". Or what about the 2.3 million children living with HIV ? Then there are the homeless, of which the National Coalition for the Homeless cannot give an exact number of those effected by homelessness, but do know it is in the millions (near 3.5 million actually). And what about the 143 million orphans world wide? How about the 400,000 children who have a parent(s) in prison this year (50,000 of them who are even harder to reach through Project Angel Tree because they live in an area that cannot be match with a local church)? The list and stat's can go on and on, and I'm left to wonder what Christmas will be like for millions upon millions upon millions of adults and children such as these.
So what do you do with exhausting numbers like these ? Nothing outrageous (unless you are the outrageous type). But may I plead with you to strongly consider your Christmas dollars (of which America as a whole spends over 8 billion dollars at Christmas time) making a dent in at least one of these areas?
For the girl that loves jewelry, while she may not say, "He went to Jared's", I bet she'll be thrilled to say the piece around her neck helped a child stuck in the sex slave trade.
Click here to see some beautiful earthy pieces. (You'll also find some great stuff for the home on that link!) Or here if your girl is a Tiffany's kind of gal and looking for something more fancy.
Who doesn't love new shoes ? An Orphan in Africa would sure love a pair. Buy some from this guy, and he'll give a free pair to a child in need.
Want to help instill charitable values in your children ? Reach out to your local homeless shelter to volunteer serving Christmas Dinner this year. Or search here for the many ways to donate time, goods, services, and money's for the cause of the homeless.
If you have a heart to help with the millions living with HIV, you could give the gift of hope through several options. Check out this sight to find out the different ways you can ! (Jewelry on this one too !!! YES !!! Also child sponsorship options ...what a beautiful gift !)
Surely you know someone who loves nothing but coffee, coffee, and more coffee. (Hint hint. :) ) Try these guys for a yummy gift, that when purchased could feed an Orphan for a month !
Project Angel Tree is always a special thing to do with the kiddo's as they can pick out gifts for children in need and see what it's like to be more blessed to give than receive. I know my church does this program .... but what about those 50,000 who aren't matched with a church (or maybe you don't attend a church that does this program). You can still get your kids involved in a great tradition by going here.
Lastly, instead of giving a gift card this year to the person who already has everything, so you just give them a gift card because you can't decide what else to get them ... how about making a donation in their name to this great agency who is helping women, men and children find a life outside of the slave trade.
Whatever your Christmas Card boasts this year, may our hearts take on the same passions as Henry Cole's 166 years ago. And as we move into a New Year full of New Years Resolution, I urge you to look more into these organizations and/or many others out there and resolve to become involved in making a difference in this broken and hurting world. Again, it doesn't have to be outragious. Under my tree sits a few gifts from one of the above listed organizations, and many from the big box store up the street as well. Just like you, I'm overwhelmed by the needs. But if we all would just pick one or two, it will make a difference.
(Leave a comment with a link to one of your favorite organizations that I missed on here if you have one !)