Fear Not: How We Should All Be Living this Christmas

She climbed up on stage, a bright-eyed three-year-old, and said it so softly, full of wonder: “Jesus!” And it was all I could do not to cry. If only we all approached Christmas the same way: eyes wide open right up to the edge of the manger, peering into the face of God.

I’ve been asking it all season this year: what is Christmas all about anyway? Courage, the Spirit whispered in my ear. Christmas takes courage.

Ann Voskamp and A Charlie Brown Christmas taught me all about it yesterday:

The spirit of Christmas—is about not having a spirit of fear.

It was the very first lesson of Christmas: living courageously. The angel appeared to Mary and the shepherds—proclaiming both times, “Fear not!” Over 2,000 years later, we’re all gathering in churches and homes, all around the world, waiting to celebrate again that miraculous Thing that changed the world forever.

And we’ll never forget it, not til the end of time: that God so loved us all that God pulled on human skin and entered the world through the holiness of a woman, lowering Godself to save us from ourselves.

Jesus killed Death when he rose from the Tomb, and I’d argue that Fear is a form of Death, wouldn’t you? Jesus came and lived and died and rose again, so that we could live unhindered by all types of Death.

So, this Christmas—let’s live into the Spirit of Christmas. The one Ann Voskamp told us about:

Maybe the Christmas Spirit is letting go—to let the Spirit move.

Maybe the Christmas Spirit—is about letting the Spirit heal you.

Maybe the Christmas Spirit—means: Reconcile for Christmas.

This Christmas, let’s let it all fly into the face of Fear and reconcile—to each other, to ourselves, to the Church and God.

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2017

One of my favorite things about this time of year is getting to pick out Christmas gifts for the people that I love. Over the past few years, more and more people have begun to compile Gift Guides, which feature ethically-made gifts and/or small businesses that empower people who are oppressed and marginalized. Everyone from Sarah Bessey to Glennon Doyle to Ann Voskamp have published blog posts filled with links to businesses and causes worth supporting.

This year, I have done the same.

Here are a few businesses I believe in and who I am giving my money to as I buy my family and friends Christmas gifts which they will love and which will empower people instead of Corporate America:


Mercy House

My favorites:

How they empower & support women:

Mercy House empowers women in maternity homes in Kenya by providing them with a sustainable income through jewelry-making. When we buy the jewelry the women make, we help them raise their children into a brighter future!

JusTea

My favorites:

How they empower & support people:

JusTea makes fair-trade, ethically-made tea by hiring tea farmers in Kenya. So far, they have created over 200 sustainable jobs for working youth aged 15-24, whose work is often casual or not sustainable.

The Bud Co.

My favorites:

  • Sow + Dew Journal — This is a journal designed to help women live out their true identity in Christ.

How they empower &  support women:

The Bud Co. was created by two women who believe that women are at their best when they are living out of their God-given identity. Ashley and Shannon launched The Bud Co. with their mission “to equip the everyday woman to live her everyday in a manner worthy of the calling she’s been charged with (Eph. 4:1).”

(Plus, I’ll be featured in the Sow + Dew journal, along with dozens of other exceptional people you will definitely want to hear from!)

Do Good Shop

My favorites:

How they empower & support people:

Do Good Shop is a nonprofit, social enterprise marketplace whose proceeds “benefit vulnerable people who are escaping injustice & poverty through safe and ethical artisan employment.” Use your money to vote for ethically-made products!

Thistle Farms

My favorites:

How they empower & support women:

Thistle Farms employs women who are survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. They even go one step further and provide safe housing, sustainable income, and a community of advocates and peers. Support the farm to help them empower more women!

Starfish Project

My favorites:

How they empower & support women:

Starfish Project helps exploited women experience freedom, establish independence, and develop careers. 100% of proceeds are invested back into the goal and mission of the organization: to restore hope to exploited women and girls.

DoTERRA

My favorites:

How they empower & support people:

DoTERRA is the leading essential oils company in the world and is helping people revolutionize their healthcare by providing more affordable, natural healthcare options to families. By working with farmers around the world, doTERRA provides them with sustainable income to raise their families and support their community. doTERRA also provides sustainable income to their Wellness Advocates like me (and you!), who help get the word out about their amazing products!


I hope this list has helped you and you find that special something for all of your special someones!

What are your favorite ethically-made products and/or small businesses providing sustainable income to people who are oppressed and marginalized? Let me know in the comments section!