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On Giving To The “Poor” This Christmas

Leneita Fix —  December 6, 2013 — Leave a comment
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*Vulnerability Alert*  If honesty and transparency make you uncomfortable then don’t read on.

Lately I have had a lot of thoughts colliding.  They come from many different places. A couple of articles I have read on simplicity and one from a “poor” woman explaining poverty. I have friends who have lost jobs, are in the process of losing jobs, and are getting divorced. I live in a neighborhood with those who live under the poverty line every day. My own family is struggling financially and it seems like more often than not others are too.

Christmas is supposed to be a time when we focus on the birth of our Savior.  However, it also feels like a time of the year when the fight for “stuff” is in our face more than ever.  Add to this the reality that people are struggling daily to meet needs more than wants.  So here’s what I am keeping in mind this season:

Simplicity Is Only A Choice When It Is A Choice:

Those who grapple to feed their kids are not thinking about spending less or going into debt. They are bothered because they want to give their kids A GIFT.  They become overly focused on this desire because they feel trapped and like they can’t do for their own family. Before you write a post about “streamlining” remember this is not a “choice” for some, there isn’t anything to simplify.

A Gift From You Is Still A Gift From You:

That child you buy the “angel tree” gift for is appreciative.  Their parents are appreciative that their child has something under the tree.  However, it is still not a gift from the parent.  It smacks your pride and dignity when you can’t do for your own, but want to.  One present doesn’t “solve” the bigger issues, but you as the parent need the gift.

“Give ME, Give ME,” Comes from a Broken Spirit:

I spend a lot of time talking with those who are trying to get more out of the “system.”  It comes from a broken place of helplessness.  Those kids who appear to have all the stuff but are acting out more?  They want to know they are important this season. Honestly, as I spend time in ministry where I “give” it is easy for my own heart to be more focused on what I want to “get” out of it.

Those In Need Are Not Always Obvious:

Some don’t want to be considered the one who is “in need.”  They are struggling right now and could use a friend. They may not tell you. Slow down enough to notice. Remember to not be so much about the “act of giving” this season that you forget the people.

Ultimately in making the connections through my thoughts I have come to ask this question of each of us.

Can We Love Someone This Season?

Instead of just putting a tag on a gift, what can we do that is THOUGHTFUL to show someone some extra love? Who in your reach could use an extra touch just to know they are cared for?  It isn’t about the presents, the surviving or the hurt at all. I think there is something about the bustle of this season that hungers to know we too are important. More important than the wrapping.

Isn’t that why Jesus came at all?

Leneita

@leneitafix

Leneita Fix

Leneita Fix

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Leneita Fix is the Director of Ministry Development for Aslan Youth Ministries, a family focused urban ministry serving Monmouth County New Jersey and Haiti. She has been working in some form of youth and family ministry for almost 22 years. In addition she has launched the coaching and resource organization, Front Line Urban Resources with Jeffrey Wallace serving those who work with families living in survival mode. The early years were spent in camp ministry, suburban and rural youth groups. With the Lord’s moving the last 17 of those years have been spent ministering in three different urban areas to primarily unchurched families (New Jersey, Virginia, Florida back to New Jersey). Her responsibilities have included Bible based program direction for children ages 5-18, curriculum writing, staff training and recruiting, discipleship, resource creation and speaking to national audiences. Her passion is to raise up workers in practical, relationship-driven methods while remaining in the trenches with the youth and families she loves. Her goal is to help others understand every student living in a survival mindset can and will be transformed in Christ. One of her greatest joys is serving in ministry as a family with her husband three wonderful children, and her niece. Simply she resides among her friends in the city just living life as a family that loves being there. You can contact her at leneitafix@aslanyouth.org.

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