An acquaintance of mine recently made a decision to shift his whole way of looking at Christmas. He decided that it was foolish to spend $500 on trinkets, socks, and CDs as gifts for friends and family who needed no such things. Instead, he is taking the money he would have spent on these gifts and giving to Blood:Water Mission.
For each person on his Christmas list, he is giving a donation to B:WM in their name. He is informing each person–probably with a message in a Christmas card–that their name is on a gift that has been sent to another continent. This gift will help “to build clean wells in Africa, to support medical facilities caring for the sick, to make a lasting impact in the fight against poverty, injustice and oppression in Africa through the linking of needs, talents and continents, of people and resources” (from B:WM’s web site).
Great idea, huh? Apparently not. Some members of his family have, in Grinch-like spirit, expressed their displeasure over his decision. They are upset about being “forced to support an organization they know nothing about.”
This kind of thinking drives me nuts. First, my friend never required anyone else to do the same for him , nor did he say that everyone else is morally required to do this just because he is.
Second, he didn’t choose a controversial political organization to support in this endeavor. B:WM is an organization that is providing clean drinking water for people that are dying because they drink bacteria-laden water EVERY DAY. If we saw the water they were drinking, we wouldn’t even suffer a sip. They also minister to the lepers of our day: AIDS patients.
What could he possibly give that would be more meaningful? He’s not making a statement about who to vote for, how to think, or what to buy. He is helping people who are desperate in their need, and putting his family member’s names on the donation.
In other words, he is toppling the Christmas apple cart and giving fruit to the poor.
For many of us, it’s too late for this year, but I wonder what Christmas would look like if we cut our gift-giving budget in half and gave the other half to an organization that is making a difference in the world in the name of Christ.
If you try it, you may upset some people who enjoy the status quo. Won’t that be fun?