We read this and this aloud. Both are good reads (not overly long) and I highly recommend them.
The first link, I saw last year, I forwarded it onto Chris, (who was swamped with work at the time!), and never really followed up on it. I thought it was a good idea last year, but I already had my shopping done, so didn't really know what to do with it. I have thought of it a couple of times, but had no idea how to locate the link again. I am grateful for a friend who posted it this year, and at a time when I am no where near done with Christmas shopping (in fact, I really have not even begun)...
Then Chris and I talked about how we might want to change things.
Then we talked with the girls about lots of different things. First birthdays, and their favorite part (family, friends and presents). Then about giving. We talked about being rich or poor. That there will always be some one who would consider us rich and someone else who would consider us poor. We talked about being rich or poor and giving together. How Jesus viewed the gift given by the rich man, who was giving from his abundance, vs. the widow, who was giving all she had. We talked about the sacrifice she made to give her offering. We talked about doing things for the 'least of these' that Jesus said was the same as doing things for him.
Then we talked about real poverty. People who do not have enough food to eat, clean water to drink, access to medical attention if they are hurt or sick. Widows and orphans living in unthinkable conditions...
Finally, we asked them to make a sacrifice. We normally give our children 3 gifts each for Christmas. This year, we asked them to sacrifice one of their gifts for Jesus. They will get an allotment of money, which they will be able to either combine with another sibling, or use on their own in the Samaritan's Purse Catalog to get something for a family or a community to make a real difference in the lives of those who are truly in need.
It is my hope that they are really able to grasp the importance of helping a family or community get a source of income, food, and access to clean water. I pray that my children understand that it is our responsibility to help widows, orphans and those who are less fortunate than we are (and that it is NOT the government's responsibility to do so, but the church, who are able to minister to the whole person, body, mind and soul.) It is our prayer that God would use these meager offerings to change the world for His name's sake. I pray that God would be able to transform these people's lives, get His word into their hands, and come to have a relationship with the one and only true God, who loved them so much, he gave them the greatest gift of all, His own Son, who came, not in luxury, but was born in a barn, with animals, and slept in a manger. He came to serve us, and ultimately, to pay the price for our sin, something we could never repay.