I love this Christmas project which Julie Fisk at “She Loves Magazine” has come up with. It is a brilliant way of sharing the GRACE of God with others and focusing on the true GIFT of Christmas (Christ!) Here is an excerpt of the post, but click on the link at the end for the whole story:
“It’s hard to notice the clanging of commercialism when you are searching high and low for the next person to help.”
Every December I struggle with how to refocus my family’s attention on Christ, on giving, and on thinking of something or someone other than ourselves, or on what Santa might bring, or the presents on our list.
It’s a battle against stores, commercials and our culture as we enter a crazy, too-early, over-hyped holiday season, intent on talking about spending money and buying gifts and going to parties. . . .
And so, last year, as two friends and I lamented over yet another over-commercialized Christmas and our struggles to teach our children something different, we decided to fight back against the holiday insanity and join forces for our first Advent Acts of Kindness (AAK).
Our inspiration was found in Mark 12:28-31:
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
We celebrated Advent (24 days, plus our Christmas Finale) with a daily kind act—most of which included our children’s direct participation—but this could easily be scaled back to a weekly kind act or any number that fits your life and your schedule.
We rotated between community acts (quarters in the laundry mat, cookies for the police department), national acts (Red Cross Mail for Heroes, Toys for Tots), and international acts of kindness (World Vision, International Justice Mission, Heifer International).
As our children helped us deliver gifts, write cards and make projects, we found ourselves talking about Christ, about sacrifice, and about the true meaning of Christmas in our families and amongst ourselves.
And, truthfully, our eyes became less focused on the commercialism of Christmas.
My girlfriends and I found ourselves walking through the days with our eyes and ears and hearts open wide—searching for a need to meet. Searching for our next kind act. It’s hard to notice the clanging of commercialism when you are searching high and low for the next person to help.
What I realized during this inaugural Advent Acts of Kindness, as I watched my daughter’s head bent low over her card written to a child stricken with cancer, was that this time redefining Christmas was just as important for my soul as it was for my children. Culture seeps into me when I’m not looking, not paying attention, distracted by a million other things.
My family will be celebrating our Second Annual Advent Acts of Kindness this Christmas season, and we invite you to join us.
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