30 meaningful gifts to bless others with this Christmas
Emilyn Tan // December 12, 2018, 3:47 pm
Child beneficiaries from the World Vision Noche Buena campaign in the Philippines, which aims to distribute gift packs to over 30,000 families across the Philippines. "Noche buena" literally translates to “a good night” – it refers to the eve of the birth of Christ. Since this donation drive started in 2005, thousands of sponsors and donors have impacted 33,000 Filipino homes every Christmas. Photo by World Vision.
The assignment was to find meaningful Christmas gifts.
My immediate dilemma was: Who’s to say what’s “meaningful”?
The very first Christmas gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:11), brought by magi who paid homage to Jesus’ kingship, priesthood and death.
A wise man from the East I am not.
Even so, restraint dictates that I should not shop till I drop for the cause of December 25 gift-giving.
My mind traverses, instead, across the hills and valleys of
- “worthwhile” (read: equal weights and measures for money out, value in)
- “purposeful” (gets the giving out of the way), and
Hmm, that third descriptive of the word “meaningful” (thanks to Google) stumps me because it suggests an appreciable effect (ie, don’t dump my gift) should rightly follow the cause.
High calling indeed.
So, what’s in a Christmas gift that would make it meaningful? Here’s my take:
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Hear the gasp: “Wah, eggs!” and look up Isaiah 35:1-2 for Our Chicken Story‘s vision.
Remember: “It is the already-poor who are the hardest hit,” as James Tan shares, having seen this for himself in the course of his work in crisis relief as executive director of the Anglican Relief and Development Agency.
Trust God enough to see His good come out of your dollars and sense.
Action: Go to the relevant websites and hit the “Donate” button. Trust God enough to see His good (Romans 8:28) come out of your dollars and sense.
Alternatively, get up and about and
- Walk towards the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettles wherever you hear the tinkle of bells and spare more than just your loose change. Better yet, volunteer for a minimum of two hours (Register here.)
- Deliver the hamper you sponsor for a family in the Prison Ministry’s Angel Tree Project.
- Fill a trolley with bags of rice and other food essentials for the Boys Brigade’s annual Share-a-Gift effort. Find the boys in blue stationed at collection points at selected NTUC supermarkets.
“Hope springs eternal”, it’s said. We all know someone who needs to read one of these books and weep:
- Running With Horses by Daniel Foo: “Weariness is not new.”
- Ponderings En Route by Peter Chao: “If everything on earth is meaningless … then perhaps we should lift our sights above the earth.”
- Apprenticed to Jesus: Learning from Him, Living like Him and/or The Race: Finding the Real Journey in Life by Bishop Emeritus Robert M Solomon: “What Jesus has done for us must be experienced personally. It is important that each one of us realise that we have wearied God with our offences and have burdened Him with our sins.”
- Say to Archippus and/or Alignment Check by Henson Lim: “The Lord wants to awaken His army from the ground up.”
- Good News for Bruised Reeds: Walking with Same-Sex Attracted Friends, edited by Joanna Hor, Ng Zhi-Wen, Bernice Tan, Tan Soo-Inn, Ronald JJ Wong, Raphael Zhang: “If the church fails on this (issue), the church will fail in its witness to the world and lose its younger generation.”
- The Diary of John Sung: Extracts From His Journals and Notes compiled by Levi: “Sung is variously remembered as the ‘Wesley of China’, ‘the apostle of China’ and ‘probably the greatest preacher of this century’.”
- Tea Talk: One Story at a Time: The story of Michael Ong, a social worker from Singapore, who was called by God to move his young family to Hanoi to set up a café-cum-counselling centre to minister to youths.
Love: It’s the greatest of all (1 Corinthians 13:13). And every which way, it’s expressed in relationships.
So, this Christmas, decide that you will give of yourself to make a disciple (Matthew 28:19) in the new year – and follow through.
It’s not all said and done if we don’t get to the heart of the season.
Check out Tan Soo Inn’s 3-2-1 model for do-able spiritual friendship, among other helps available.
Love your block by showing your neighbours:
We are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live.
And for the neighbour, relative or friend who speaks a dialect or is physically unable to hold a Bible, solar-powered audio Bible MegaVoice, which comes in 4,000 languages and dialects, is the ultimate Christmas gift of God’s Word.
Rest assured, such a gift will be eternally significant, and more precious than gold, frankincense and myrrh put together.
It’s not all said and done if we don’t see beyond the hype and get to the heart of the season and, in so doing, remember the One Person whose One Gift defines “meaningful” for all time:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16).
That’s a gift wondrously blood-bought, according to a truly enlightened, foreordained plan.
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