Two weeks ago, I sat at the computer and made a list of organizations I wanted to support with a year-end donation, and how much. Why am I telling you? Because writing, sharing, and enacting that list is one of the most fruitful things I’ve done this Advent.
If you already do something similar, I hope this blog post will remind you why. If you don’t, I hope my experience will encourage you to try it out. Here are a few ways it helped my preparations for Christmas.
Gratitude. I am more grateful for these organizations to which I give, for how they impact the world and how they inform and shape my life. Some were new to me in 2013 while I’ve given to others for years.
Attention. I am more attentive to the circumstances – my job and my health, for example – that equip me with money to share. This attention brings more gratitude.
Connection. I feel more connected to the people and communities who are part of these organizations. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Making the list showed me the truth of these words. Even thinking about where to give money heightens my concern for these organizations and the people and places with whom they work.
Anticipation. I look forward to the year ahead and engaging more with this work beyond financial giving. The list also helped me realize that I want to be more disciplined about giving and not leave so much of it to the end of the year.
Gratitude. Attention. Connection. Anticipation. When I sat at the computer two weeks ago, I thought I was making a list about charitable giving. I didn’t expect to feel more prepared to welcome and respond to God with us, Immanuel.
Now, I’ve got to see about writing some checks…
Emma Crossen is director for stewardship and development.