Christmas or Craziness?

By Jenny Andison

Posted on November 20, 2012

Advent and Christmas can get obscene. You know what I mean. People spending money they don’t have, on things they don’t need, to impress people they often don’t like. And while there can be moments of peace and holiness over the coming weeks, there is incredible pressure to have the “perfect Christmas” – perfectly decorated house, fabulous food, luxurious gifts. It all boils down to a message of “consume, consume, consume”.

Here at St. Paul’s, we want to help you experience the kind of Advent and Christmas that will give you the peaceful glow that the shopping malls tell you comes from racking up debt. Don’t let the season control you and your family. Let's be intentional together as a growing community.

We are encouraging every member of St. Paul’s to find tangible ways to replace consumption with compassion this Advent and Christmas season. Last year we urged people to consider spending 20% less on presents and donate the money instead to helping us build water wells to provide fresh drinking water for a village in Africa. We thought we were being bold – we said, “Let’s raise $15,000 over and above our regular offerings”. We raised $24,000 and it was fabulous. My daughters still talk about how exciting it was each Sunday during Advent to find out how much money had been raised!

Lets be bold again. This year we are asking the St. Paul’s community to raise $20,000 (over and above regular offerings) to benefit Jacaranda Farm in Northern Nigeria. Named for the flowering tree, Jacaranda Farm strives to build bridges of peace between the Muslim and Christian youth who work on the farm. The $20,000 will be used to install an irrigation system and to benefit the orchard. Donate online or use one of the Jacaranda Farm offering envelopes at the Concierge Desk. It's that easy. Replace consumption with compassion with five minutes on your computer. When you are going over to parties, don’t bring a bottle of wine – take a Gift Card that says you donated to Jacaranda Farm in honour of your host. The Gift Cards also make easy and meaningful Christmas presents too. You can pick up a card at the Concierge Desk.

Another practical way to live with compassion this year is to volunteer at our annual Christmas Day Dinner. This annual dinner serves a delicious meal to almost 200 people each year who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. The meal goes from 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. and there are lots of ways to help – in the kitchen, serving food, singing carols, chatting with guests. For several years, my husband Tim and I helped with the dinner along with our daughters. We told them that they were “God’s little waitresses” – and it was a wonderful antidote to the craziness of present opening.  

If you would like to give of your time this year, contact our Outreach Minister, David-Kirk McCleary

Let's make this an Advent and Christmas season marked by our compassion.