Sometimes, it only takes one act of generosity, one gesture of kindness to change someone’s life.  A pair of hockey skates to join the team. Shovelling a sidewalk. A small donation towards a well in Africa. That’s how we live in community.
By the end of December, Chanukah will have seen eight nights of gifts and fine food.  Christmas trees across Canada will have seen presents piled underneath them. Our holiday spending just keeps going up. But we can’t say the same for our other-centred giving.
And yet, in the true spirit of the season no matter what tradition you hold, shouldn’t that be as front and centre, and wrapped with as much care, as the new IPod Touch or remote-control car beside the menorah or under the tree? That’s the heart of the 1gift4good Challenge.  Come up with a gift – for your spouse, your kids, your parents – that will help someone else, and wrap it up, symbolically, for the day all the presents get opened.
Inside, they’ll find the true Spirit of the Holiday Season.

1gift4good at Faith, Ottawa

photoDuring Advent, members at Faith Lutheran Church in Ottawa are recording their gifts on paper and placing them into the gift box on the altar  – a random act of kindness, letting someone else in line in front of you, yielding a sought-after parking spot to someone else, giving a cup of coffee to a homeless person, volunteering at the food bank, helping carry parcels for someone, spending extra time with a loved one, giving money to support an important mission, etc. Then, during the Christmas Eve and Day services, the gift box will be opened and some of these “gifts for good” will be read out (anonymously) – all to signify the unconditional character of gift-giving in Jesus’ name, and as our gift to the newborn Jesus.