How do we discern which of the many envelopes and emails we will open and or send money to, when there are so many worthy causes and organizations? This is where having a giving budget comes in handy. We can, through prayer, discern each month how much we feel called to give away. Some months money is tighter than others with cars dying, ambulance rides, furnace replacements and such, but we always have something to give. The Christmas season is no different. We are called to give generously, though I question if it is more so than any other time of the year, or just with more focus to the least of these around us as we have visions of mangers dancing through our heads.
At any rate, developing a budget is the first step. How much income do we anticipate receiving over these weeks? How much of that do we feel called to give away? Have these conversations before coming up with your Christmas budget (food, presents, decorations, etc). We give the Lord our first fruits, and Jesus reminds us over and over that He comes in distressing disguise as the "least of these" in our midst.
If you have organizations you give to on a regular basis, might you give a little more in this season of giving? Are there some organizations that you cannot commit regular donations to, but could possibly send a small gift to at Christmas? At most, pick five organizations/causes that your family chooses to support. I know when our children are older, my desire is to have each of us pick one organization dear to our hearts and then discern one as a whole family. Now if we have another handful of offspring, that might change, of course, but I digress... Remember that while it may be tempting to give to all the organizations, we are not actually called to save the whole world. Jesus already did. We are just called to discern how to be a part of His redeeming work.
"But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’" Luke 2:10-14Don't let the act of giving become a burden. Make it simple, but make a commitment. Most importantly, make it a habit to include the giving as part of your budget before the presents and festivities. At the end of your days, you won't be sorry.
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