Thursday, 12 December 2013

Upside-Down Christmas Reminder

I was rushing around getting ready for work this morning when the phone rang.  I didn't recognize the phone number but the man on the phone asked for me.

"Did you place an online order for folded Christmas cards ma'am?", he asked me.

"Yes I did", I replied, wondering what had happened.

"I'm processing them now and they will be ready later today, but I just wanted to check with you about the design".  He continued to describe the card format, and then said, "but the picture of the Christmas tree you submitted, well....", he hesitated, "'s upside down."

I laughed, thinking of all the techno-challenged people who have probably submitted many a picture sideways, or upside-down; how many people he has made this call to.  I'm thinking, based on the tone of his voice, he has never seen an upside-down Christmas tree.

"Oh, no worries, it's suppose to be that way!"  He sound relieved, yet confused.  After all, why would someone turn their Christmas tree upside-down?  Especially on a card they were planning to give to people?

Three Christmas' ago, I drew my very own Christmas tree in MS Paint, placed it on my FB profile, wrote this post, and for me, Upside-Down Christmas had begun.  This year I decided I would make a card with this tree on it and give the card to each person on my list who is receiving an 'upside-down' gift.

This all started three years ago when I read a statistic, two actually, which turned my stomach and broke my heart: 1) the number of orphans in the world, 2) and the amount of money American spend in a mere 50 days leading up to a one day celebration which has lost its true meaning. Here's what I wrote in my first blog post ever:

"In the 50 days leading up to Christmas, Americans will spend $ 450-500 BILLION on Christmas. That’s $450,000,000,000 on toys, clothes, food, wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, decorations, more decorations, trees and so much more.  None of it life sustaining.  Most of it empty.  Can you just imagine the impact just 10% of that would have, if done in the name of Jesus, for 145 million orphans who have no hope?
As Christians we are members of God’s kingdom.  We were orphans.  We are now adopted. 
God’s kingdom is an upside-down kingdom in comparison to the world’s system.  In God’s kingdom the humble, the meek, the merciful, the peacemaker, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – these will be blessed beyond measure.  The ones who love their enemies, offer mercy to the poor and oppressed and fatherless, the least of these – these will be great in this kingdom called heaven. 
This language is foreign to the ears of the world.
The world says “me, mine, best, better, more, now”. 
In God’s kingdom, “me” is crucified, “best” and “better” come later, and “more” only comes when what we’ve been given is graced to those who have not.

We, as a small group of the Lord’s army, cannot change how all of Canada, or America, spends its  money at Christmas.  But we can prayerfully and deliberately change how we, ourselves, you and me, prepare for, spend and celebrate Christmas. 

In the upside-down kingdom, Christmas is about the celebration and remembrance of the babe in a manger.  Son of God born humble and lowly, with one purpose: to save us from our sin. 
So go ahead. 
That will look different for each one of us, and will include toys, clothes, food, wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, decorations, and trees, but maybe it could mean just not so much of it all.  
.......An upside-down gift that is life-sustaining; full not empty; eternal not temporal."
Maybe you 'd like to know what this looks like, this giving intentionally, purposefully.  Below are a few ideas and links to get you started, maybe some ideas will come as you link up and research and look for ways to give purposefully.  If you have some ideas of your own, feel free to share with us in the comments.  I'm still trying to figure this out myself, and I'd love to learn more.
  • Gospel for Asia Gift catalogue:  (US residents go here) purchase gifts ranging from cows and rabbits to Bibles and women's literacy programs, all done to enable and sustain those living in poverty in India and done in the name of Jesus.
  • Compassion Canada: (US residents go here); buy various gifts to enable and sustain those living in poverty around the world.
  • Do you know someone who is adopting a child internationally?  Why not donate to their effort and help bring a orphan home. 
  • Help send an imprisoned child home, or support some of the other aspects of the Sixty Feet ministry as they serve in Uganda.  You can also purchase a cookbook, filled with yummy cupcake recipes for the baker on your list.
  • Buy products which have a dual benefit - one to the receiver and one to the vendor/manufacturer.  There are so many opportunities to do this if you google "Fair Trade shopping".  Some suggestions include Eternal Threads, and Ten Thousand Villages to name just a few.
Be Upside-down this Christmas
Spend 10% less this Christmas and give it away
Make an eternal difference this Christmas
Watch what the Lord does with it
I'm standing on my head this Christmas.  Will you join me?


At 16 December 2013 at 16:41 , Blogger Christine said...

I'm with you!

At 16 December 2013 at 23:43 , Blogger Stephanie said...

Love that you're with me Christine! As I looked back to my first Upside-down Christmas post, I noticed you were with me then too! So glad sister! And Merry Christmas to you!


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