Last month I posted an article, Just Giving or Giving Justly, helping us to examine our and our Churches' Christmas giving projects.
I want to expand on the third principle for Giving Justly, GIFTEDNESS over GIFTS: “When someone sees me I want them to see my strengths, not needs. When I see others, I want to see their gifts, their strengths, not their needs.”
At Christmas what if we focused on discovering gifts rather than just buying them! “For churches, there is a great opportunity for an awareness of (gifts) to be woven into the way that congregations interact with each other and into the way that positive change in communities is brought about. By identifying and celebrating the gifts in each other and our communities, people can be encouraged and empowered to see for themselves that God has given them specific gifts so that he (and we) can delight in their being used, and therefore use them both for their own benefit, and for the benefit of the community as a whole.” (Church Urban Fund: From Method to Mindset)
The best ways for us and our churches to give at Christmas, or any time, is by discovering and building on the gifts and skills of people and communities.
There are three main gifts to discover, Head, Heart, Hands, but sometimes two more are added: Heel and Human Connection.
1. Gifts of the HEAD - things people know about (What special knowledge, expertise, life experience do you have that can be shared with others?)
2. Gifts of the HEART - things people care about (What things are really important to you, that you deeply care about and would like to share with others?)
3. Gifts of the HANDS - skills and talents people have (What practical skill do you bring with you, that you are good at, proud of and you wish to share with others?)
4. Gifts of the HEEL - things people do to stay grounded (What spiritual practices do you do and are willing to share with others?)
5. Gifts of HUMAN Connection - things people do to stay connected (What ways do you build community for yourself and others?)
Here is an activity you can do to discover the gifts of people within your congregations and communities.
ACTIVITY: Provide recyclable gift tags. Ask each person to take 3 to 5 and write their name and one gift on each tag. Group into the 5 categories listed above. Display online or in person; somewhere where others can notice and reflect on the variety of gifts. Followup with gathering the gifts and connecting each other to discover ways those gifts could be used.
WEBINAR Conversation: On December 10, I will be hosting a conversation with Monika Grasley, Executive Director of LifeLineCDC, called Stop Playing Santa. In this webinar you’ll hear stories of how churches are moving to a more dignified way to give. We’ll brainstorm creative ideas for Christmas giving and share examples of ways to discover and celebrate the gifts of our head, heart, hands, heels and human connection! Sign up HERE.
This Christmas maybe it’s time to move away from acting like Santa, and living more like Christ.