Although Black Friday sales dropped this year, according to the National Retail Federation nearly 133.7 million people shopped or planned to shop over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Shoppers tapped away on their smart devices, shopping virtual shelves looking for the perfect gift at the best price, and scurried into stores in the wee hours of the morning collectively spending $50.9 billion on clothing, electronics, home products, appliances and more.
America spent $50.9 billion on items that will fade with time and that have no eternal value—but they do meet a short-term desire for comfort and satisfy a longing to give, but more importantly, get.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger, approximately 805 million people in the world do not have enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The result? The death of 3.1 million children under of the age of five every year.
And the saddest part? The WFP calculates that just $3.2 billion US dollars are needed each year to reach all 66 million hungry school-aged children.
In four days, America spent the equivalent of what would feed 66 million children for nearly 16 years.
In this season of giving, I’d argue we have forgotten what it really means to give. After all, the numbers speak for themselves.
If we, as a nation, found out way back to the heart of Christmas, and in the days leading up to it, we could solve world hunger. If we gave as Jesus gave, we could prevent the unnecessary deaths of millions of children. What better way to honor the birth of our Savior than by giving as He gave?
Jesus often met people’s physical needs before He nourished them spiritually. He fed the five thousand. He healed the blind man. He invited Zacchaeus to dinner. He healed the crippled at the pool of Bethesda.
James 2:14–15 says:
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
1 John 3:17–18 echoes this sentiment:
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
There is, perhaps, no greater time, as we remember and celebrate Christ’s birth, to point the world back to Jesus with how we give. He was the greatest gift. He gave of Himself and spent the reminder of His days on Earth meeting the needs of others.
Put Christ back in Christmas by being Christ this Christmas. After all, what is Christmas if we do not give as Jesus gave?
Right on. It’s wonderful how many Christian charities have come out in the last decade with Christmas catalogs geared toward prospering those in poverty by offering a variety of means to help children, families and communities. The “price range” makes it affordable for anyone to give, and it’s amazing to think how the “big ticket items” can literally transform an entire village.