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Monday, Nov. 30th 2015

#GivingTuesday at Conception

What present would Jesus give for Christmas?

“Remember the reason for the season!” This is the phrase you will hear from friends, or see as a meme on your Facebook newsfeed, for the next 30 days. If you haven’t seen this on your newsfeed yet that is probably because you have been bombarded with the Starbucks Red coffee cup crisis (non-crisis) instead.

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Volunteers at Conception Abbey’s Giving Tuesday Event last year.

If you haven’t seen either of those memes, you may have seen the commercial between football games on Sunday for Kay Jewelers telling you why you should buy a thousand dollar ring for the one you care about this Christmas season. We as Christians seem to be bombarded with so much during the Christmas season that we are left only with some confusion and problems, but no answer.

If you want the answer, I don’t have it. Believe it or not, I have another problem to add.

When I was little, I remember telling my dad how my school was helping a family at Christmas by donating items they needed. I told him how one of the presents I saw in the office was none other than my boy Woody from Toy Story and how mad I was that a less-fortunate kid was getting it. I went on to explain that I was upset that a poor kid got a present that was better than what I had received last year. I recall looking at my dad and ranting on about how it wasn’t fair that the poor kids at school got such great stuff.

My Dad then looked at me and said, “I’ve made a mistake in teaching you about giving, because when I came from Mexico, I was that kid.”

I’ll never forget that moment; mainly because of the feeling it stained me with – pure disgust with myself. We can get so focused with the music, the parties, and the presents. We are often so focused on the gifts we are to give to our family and friends in order to show them how much we love them (and rightly so because we do love them) that we forget the gift we already have. If during Christmas we had no presents, our gift would be the presence of family and friends. Yes, some people don’t have enough money to buy gifts for their kids, and some families will be without their fathers this Christmas, but some people don’t have anyone to spend it with at all.

Again, if you want the answer, I don’t have it. What I do have is a simple suggestion to change your Christmas forever – find a new way to share and encourage giving.

My good friend once told me his favorite Christmas gift was a $50 bill from his Aunt who enclosed the note “Chris, This is $50. Give it to someone you come across one day who really needs it, because I want you to have the gift of giving.”

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Volunteers write cards to people during Giving Tuesday 2014 at Conception Abbey

Conception Seminary is joining a worldwide movement created to celebrate and encourage giving – #GivingTuesday. You have Black Friday and Cyber Monday to buy great discounted items. But now you also have #GivingTuesday to encourage us not to buy, but to give. As a relatively new movement, only in its 4th year, it had over 30,000 organizations in 68 countries committed to giving last year. Here at Conception it will be our 2nd year participating; we are hosting a community-wide giving event and working with the Tri-C area partners for progress. This event includes the help of area schools, food banks, and parishes which help us to identify area families who are in need. This year’s event at Conception Abbey will be helping ten local families. We are getting donations and collecting items this next week to be wrapped and gathered on Tuesday December 1, a.k.a. #GivingTuesday. All donated items will be wrapped and placed under Christmas that will go to the adopted families trees (we will be decorating the trees that night).

The Conception Abbey Printery House has donated 100 cards for people to write notes on for members in the community without family or friends around this Christmas season. They will go to local families, nursing homes, and military members overseas. There will also be a canned food drive with all items going to local area food banks. This year, we, the seminarians of Conception Seminary College, will also be involved with this great cause. Each class will select a family to adopt this Christmas season. We will also be hosting a class challenge to see which class can collect the most canned food items for the food drive. This is Conception’s way of showing that even though we live in a rural area, we are still a community.

giving-tuesday-2015Want to Help?

If you don’t know how you can help: Check out #GivingTuesday.com or join us and our community giving event and help Conception by donating items (coats, gloves, hats, shoes, socks, etc.) and other gifts (DVDs, gift cards, and children’s toys). Find out more, www.facebook.com/conceptionabbey/events.

 

 

 

 

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