Black Friday is coming!
Online (and NOT in the stores) on Black Friday.
I’ve done it once, and whew! I escaped the melee never to return! Some of you probably gear up on Thanksgiving afternoon, don’t you? Do you hit those early sales on Thanksgiving night? I know people who do, and it sounds so exciting when they talk about it. So let’s call it my gift to you shoppers, letting you have the fun without me standing in line next to you, desperately whispering the Serenity Prayer 😉 I’ll be working at home, listening to Christmas music and probably baking something unnecessary, fattening and cinnamony. I’ll probably go out and look at the lights—I’ve been driving through unlit neighborhoods this week, tempted to honk at the homeowners to get their decorations up pronto! My lights are still up from last year, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
While you’re making your list and checking it twice, add a “Secret Santa” gift to someone who really needs it. You know you’ll be dropping $25 or $50 on some silly gift for someone you barely know. Give the same amount to an organization with a reputation for helping others, and get a grin that will last all season.
Here are my favorites:
Compassion International(bet you never saw that coming!) Even if you can’t yet experience the awesomeness of sponsoring a child, you can make a one-time gift to their Disaster Relief Fund, Highly Vulnerable Children (trafficking), HIV/AIDS Initiative, Child Survival Program (prenatal and newborns), Malaria Intervention, Safe Water for Life, Leadership Development (college for high-performing sponsored children), and the inclusion of Unsponsored Children in project activities.
The Water ProjectConsistently gets 4 star ratings onCharity Navigator, they have a record of 100% transparency in their accounting practices, with 83.4% of the money going toward supplying wells, filtration systems, repair parts and other things that fulfill their promise to get clean water to the world.
International Justice MissionYou truly must see the work these people do. Their investigators raid trafficking rings and rescue people, taking them to places where they can be restored emotionally and spiritually and taught job skills. Their lawyers fight for widows to keep their property, for men who’ve been oppressed by corrupt police, for the abused and misused. They work in political arenas to stop the injustice that is the norm in so many places. I could go on, but take a look today.
Samaritan’s Purse These guys do everything, but they’ve impressed me with their adult work. They teach adults in poverty how to read, give them job skills and equipment and teach wise money-management. Love a vet? They also work with wounded and injured US soldiers and their spouses, working to restore their hope and strengthen their marriages.
International Rescue Committee If you’ve been reading the news or the vile Facebook messages, you want to help these refugees get a safe place for their families, but you might also be a little afraid. I have a lot of thoughts on this, but I’d recommend prayer—God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind. With 92.5% of money going toward the program expenses and a 4-star Charity Navigator rating, this organization beats The UN Refugee Agency in it’s efficiency. They are working inside Syria as well as in neighboring countries to get refugees and their families to safety. I think about my Vietnamese friends, and I’m grateful for the efforts the US made back then to get them to safety and new lives. Let’s do what we can to help these families as well.
YOUR LOCAL SHELTER or your electric/gas/water companies’ donation funds. Folks, there are people who have made bad decisions, and there are people who have just lost everything for no reason. Regardless of the reason, Jesus said to give them a cup of water. His brother James said, “Judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” James 2:13, and “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and be well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:15-18