Christmas gifts that change, save lives

Int’l (MNN) – According to a Pew Research Center survey, what most Americans look forward to when it comes to Christmas is the time spent with family and friends. What they dread, however, is the materialism surrounding the holiday. And yet, it seems like pressure to buy continues while the true meaning of Christmas is forgotten.

Compassion International’s Gift Catalog is a great way for families to come together and impact lives both spiritually and physically. These aren’t gifts that will be hidden in a closet for Christmases to come. They are gifts that connect the hope of Christ’s birth to the felt needs of people all around the globe.

Karyn Stehman of Compassion International says, “This year we’re really encouraging people to think about their gift-giving budget a little bit differently and think about how a gift to the catalog could make such an eternal difference for a child living in poverty.”

(Photo courtesy of Compassion International).

Compassion International focuses on holistic care of people in need all around the world. They have over 6,700 international church partners. Through these relationships, they are serving almost two million children in the name of Jesus.  The Gift Catalog invites people to support these programs, even if they cannot commit to full child sponsorship. It also breaks down some of the ways Compassion is helping in communities all over.

Stehman says, “We have over 40 gifts and each gift in our catalog is really chosen as something that’s going to impact the children and the families that are in our program.”
Through these gifts, lives are being changed and, in some cases, saved!
Livestock like chickens, goats, pigs, and cows are some of the most frequently bought gifts in this catalog. It is an effective way to help a family in need because the benefits are ongoing.

Stehman explains, “A goat will allow a family to have milk, will allow them to sell the milk to the market, earn an income. So, it’s not only a resource for the family to have nutrition, but also a resource for them to earn an income.”

If you are especially passionate about the spiritual development of children through Scripture, you might consider giving a Bible.

“The Bibles are given to children in their own language that are age appropriate so when they’re young, they’ll have a picture Bible. And as they get older they’ll receive a new Bible that kind of progresses with them in age. And it’s such a great gift to really build into children spiritually.”

Another unique gift that you might not normally think of is to provide children with a safe place to play.

(Photo courtesy of Compassion International)

“A lot of the communities we work in, they’re dangerous communities where children just aren’t safe to go out and play in the streets. And when we’re able to have the funds to build a playground at the church, the children can come to the church in a safe environment and play in the playground.”

These are just some of the many ways you can make a difference this Christmas. But not only that, God is being glorified through these gifts. Check back in with us in the next few days to read another story about how emergency medical intervention caused a mother to praise God.

You can check out the Gift Catalog, here.

And, if you want to spread the word about how these gifts change lives, consider hosting a small group or setting up an information booth in your church. Learn more, here.