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Now that Black Friday is come and gone, we are in the season of waiting (Advent) and why not turn some of the talk within the Christmas Carols and all those great Christmas movies into action by truly making a difference in someone’s life this Christmas?

I’ve decided to create a post for the purpose of providing an easy way for all to find a variety of ways to truly make a difference in someone’s life this Christmas other than raiding your favorite store this season.

As Christians, we are told to not simply talk about God and not simply inform people of our beliefs, but we are called to a living, working faith. If you don’t believe me, read James. I know it is tempting this day and age when promoting a cause is so incredibly popular to promote something in order to receive a product or service in return and to promote your own personal support of any given cause by wearing it on your chest or wrist; I know because I too am guilty of this. If you don’t get a cool cause t-shirt with your donation or something that shows you support the cause, it can feel like you’re throwing your money away or not fully supporting your cause. However, remember, as Christians, we are told to give and to not boast about it or ourselves in the streets. We are told to give and not expect anything in return. Also, to not hesitate to give in support of the needs of others.

This means we give because our reward and joy is in the giving because in the giving we are providing for the needs of others as we are called to do, but also imitating God who graciously provides for the needs of those he loves. So, as you give this Christmas season, I remind you to give from your heart and out of the love of God because it is the love of God on display in our charity and it is also the evidence that our faith is genuine.

This Christmas remember those who are less fortunate than you. When you are enjoying your ‘plenty,’ remember those who have little. When you are warm and cozy, remember those who are without a home and/or without warm clothing. This Christmas remember to “…do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

International Justice Mission (Help fight to end modern-day slavery.)

Project 7 (Heal the sick. Save the earth. House the homeless. Feed the hungry. Quench the thirsty. Teach them well. Hope for peace. Project 7 gives to 7 areas of need. You choose a product to purchase or simply give, and you get to make an impact in at least one area of need. It’s THAT easy.)

World Vision (Click on the link to view World Vision’s Christmas catalog of giving.)

World Food Program (Help with the famine in the horn of Africa.)

Compassion International (Click on the link to view Compassion’s Christmas catalog of giving.)

Not for Sale (Give the gift of freedom to slaves in either Peru, India, Uganda, Cambodia, El Salvador, or Thailand.)

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

Charity Navigator (Which charity should you donate to? Do they give to where they say? Find out more about charities at this site.)

Charity: Water (Give someone clean water this season.)

American Cancer Society (Help someone get the chance at one more birthday.)

Amani Children’s Home (Help poor children and orphans in Tanzania with food, clothing, and education.)

Kiva (Help an impoverished person or family start a business with a micro-loan this Christmas.)

If you are looking for something local, maybe try volunteering at your local homeless shelter or rescue mission (in your nearest city). Another option is to visit a retirement home and not only sing carols, but simply sit and talk with some of the elderly there. You could donate blood to the Red Cross at your local blood drive. Maybe you could take some initiative and organize your own food drive, have a charity supper, or even have a family that is struggling over for a meal or two in your community. Maybe donate to a local school. The economy has been difficult for many families and the coming winter will be even more difficult for many, so there is surely someone nearby who needs help.

How will you help? What will you do?

Jesus says if we help only those who are our friends and family, what good is that? James says if you tell someone, “Be warm or be full” if they are cold and hungry, your faith is useless (James 2).

Help those who need it even if you don’t know them. Why not show others that our faith isn’t simply a set of beliefs removed from the world, but comes to life in loving others in the world who are in need, especially the poor and marginalized.

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