On Friday I went out shopping a bit (at a reasonable hour) and found a good deal on something I've been wanting to get for my girls' birthday in March. I can afford it full price, but I got it half off.
Then I bought some clothes this weekend because they were also on sale.
None of these things did I think really hard about before I spent money. None of it was extravagant, but none of it was absolutely necessary either.
And I have a warm house while it snows outside and a good washing machine to help me when my kids do get sick. And this is all that I really need.
Today, is what's known as Giving Tuesday. After we've spent all we want on ourselves some people have proposed we should maybe think of others. And most of us will think really long and hard about just where we give our money, if we even give at all.
Is this a worthy cause? Will they use my money well? Where would it do the most good for the few dollars I can give?
All of these are good questions to ask of a charity, but sometimes we get so hung up on the asking, the verifying, that we forget that even we don't spend all our money wisely.
So today I'm wondering, what if we remembered that our money isn't really ours. That we can be an amazing blessing to those in need. That probably it won't even be a real sacrifice for us.
What if we remember that Christ came down and sacrificed everything, not so that we could live in plenty, but that we could live in joy and thanksgiving. What if we let some of that flow out in tangible ways this Christmas season?
I admit, I'm not the greatest either, but when I remember I love to try and support businesses that are directly helping men and women, those who simply have less and could use our help. Businesses like Ruhamah Designs (their jewelry is gorgeous) and Freeset bags (I love the simplicity and durability of my new sling purse!). Gifts for friends? I'm absolutely sure you can find something through Come Together Trading Company. Or a fun monthly piece from the Mercy House's Fair Trade Friday subscription.
Some of these companies are even working with women who have been not just poor, but rescued from some of the worst fates and given a way out. You can read more on the websites I've linked above.
And besides getting something with our giving, because sometimes, but not always, these items cost more than those made in China, what if we just gave?
Compassion International and World Vision and lots of other organizations let you sponsor a child. What I've received in return are letters from a child in another part of the world. A child who may not turn out perfectly, but who has a chance for a much better life through my minimal gift each month.
Or you can simply give a Christmas gift with no strings attached, no long term commitment, but a gift of the heart to a child or family in need. Both Compassion and World Vision have giving catalogs.
There's also the Preemptive Love Coalition I learned about this summer working in the war torn areas of the Middle East, bringing the hands and feet of Love to those in need.
There are so many ways to enter in this season. I've listed some of the organizations I love. How will you join the Joy of Giving today?