This time of year is traditionally a season for being thankful and for giving generously to those we love. Our “thanks-giving” began with last month’s Thanksgiving holiday, when we thank God for all the blessings God has poured into our lives. It continues into December as we praise God for the gift of Jesus Christ, and act out this extravagant gift by exchanging gifts at Christmas.
This year, we have two ways to follow God’s example of extravagant giving by becoming extravagant givers ourselves:
- Christmas Eve Offering for the Thurmont Ministerium. Our entire Christmas Eve offering this year will be donated to the Thurmont Ministerium. The Ministerium is an ecumenical group of local churches that helps needy families meet short term needs for food, clothing and shelter. It is closely linked to the Thurmont Food Bank that, in October alone, provided food to 1,012 individuals in 342 families. Whatever you donate on Christmas Eve will go to this worthy and much needed local ministry.
- “Christmas is not your birthday.” (This initiative was started by Mike Slaughter, pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio several years ago). Maybe you saw the TV commercial by a major department store for Black Friday that featured a choir singing “shop, shop, shop, shop, shop” to the tune of Deck the Halls. Are you tired of this kind of crass commercialism during the Christmas selling season? Want to give a gift in honor of Jesus’ birth that makes this holiday more about Him and less about us? Then consider taking part in the “Christmas is not your birthday” challenge. Here’s how it works: When you make your Christmas Eve offering this year, donate the same amount on Christmas Eve as you spend on Christmas presents for your family. If that’s too much of a stretch, then consider donating at the 50% or 25% level of what you spend on Christmas presents. Everything you give on Christmas Eve will go to the Thurmont Ministerium. If you’ve already given to Operation Shoe Box or Angel tree, include these donations as part of the “Christmas is not your birthday” challenge.
Please prayerfully consider making this Christmas a season of extravagant generosity in honor of our savior’s birth.