Int’l (MNN) — On Black Friday, millions of customers rushed to stores to get the best deals for Christmas gifts. Why? They wanted to spend less and give more to their friends and family. It makes sense.
This isn’t so far off from what Living Water International is doing this season–except for the fact that the organization is pulling away from commercialism and getting back to the meaning of Christmas.
Jonathan Wiles of Living Water says, “Our message around Christmas is to focus people on really the simple tenants and ideas of what Christmas is about.”
For the last few years, Living Water has provided a network of churches with the Advent Conspiracy. This program is a practical way to help churches celebrate the birth of Jesus in a simple way that helps anyone involved focus. The key phrases in this project are: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All.
Jonathan Wiles says this program will help individuals combat the patterns that we all tend to slip into around Christmas time. For example, what does it mean to worship God fully? He says, “If our focus is on shopping and the marketing around Christmas, then that’s really what we’re worshipping. So we want to re-center on the idea of fully worshipping God at this time.”
They have materials for your church or small group here.
By spending less (time, money, stress) on traditional Christmas gifts for the family, Wiles says a family can give more. What he means is that you can focus on giving relationally to your family–cultivating conversations that matter and affirming your love in ways that transcend a wrapped gift.
Another way of giving more is to give to people, worldwide, in need. These people not only need clean water, but they need the Living Water: the Gospel.
And here enter two practical and simple ways to give in a special new way this year.
Living Water likes the idea of giving gifts that give to people in need internationally. However, they’ve taken the “donation made in your name” concept a step further.
This year, you can give a gift card to a friend or loved one allowing them the opportunity to choose where the funds go.
“They can go to the redemption Web site and they can punch in the code, and then they can designate the money that you’ve given in their name toward a project that is really interesting and compelling for them,” Wiles says.
This way the recipient is involved in the gift and will catch a vision for world mission.
If you’re interested in this, click here.
The final resource Living Water has for you this Christmas is actually for you as a recipient of gifts. This is a good opportunity for you to say, “All I want for Christmas is money for [project of choice].”
You can create a page asking loved ones to support a cause you truly believe in. Click here for more information.
What’s the point?
These gifts can transform communities. Not only will clean water change their lives, but the love shown to them by you will be a starting place to discuss something a little deeper than water cleanliness: God.
Living Water believes that Christmas has the power to transform communities and individuals all around the world. It is a time where people can exert a concentrated effort into developing the kingdom of God.
Wiles says, “So as our story comes into contact with their story in the context of God’s story, there’s an opportunity there for all of us to be transformed.”