I might have called this a “Christmas gift” or “Christmas offering>, but I like the message as it is. I’m repeating this recommendation from 2012. It ties in well with the Advent Book study we have been enjoying at West Allis First United Methodist Church: Pastor Mike Slaughter’s Christmas is not Your Birthday.
Jim Wallis has written this month on Christmas giving:
Religion is far too judgmental. Surveys show that many people think that, especially a new generation of young people who — more than ever before — are checking the “none of the above” religious affiliation box.
A recent Harris International and World Vision poll showed that Americans plan to spend more this Christmas season on consumer gifts than they did last year, but give less to charities and ministries that help the poor. Many say they are less likely to give a charitable gift as a holiday present — a drop from 51 percent to 45 percent.
So we will have more Christmas presents this year, but less help for the poor. While retailers, economists, and politicians may rejoice at the news about higher consumer spending this year, the lower levels of support for the ones Jesus called “the least of these” should legitimately bring some moral judgments from the faith community.
Indeed, the Matthew 25 scripture that this text is taken from is one of the few and most judgmental passages in all the New Testament. About some things, Jesus was judgmental. The Gospel clearly says that how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the prisoner, is how we treat Jesus. That’s is pretty judgmental, especially when you go on to read what will happen to those who ignore Jesus in this way.
So let’s counter the results of the survey with a Christmas Tithe. Gather your family together around this, send the idea to your friends and fellow believers, take the idea to church, write letters to the editor in your local paper. Let’s all decide this Christmas to tithe a percentage of all that we give in Christmas presents directly to the poor; who were given the greatest gift at the first Christmas with a child born in a stable who promised to bring them “good news.”
His full essay can be found at the link above. Christmas Tithe