What Have You Done For The Least of These?

According to the National Retail Federation, a group that compiles information about consumer spending for major American holidays and events, an estimated 165.3 million people will shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

They break the numbers down like this:

  • 39.6 million will shop on Thanksgiving day
  • 114.6 million will shop on Black Friday
  • 66.6 million will shop on Small Business Saturday
  • 33.3 million will shop on Sunday
  • 68.7 million will shop on Cyber Monday

When looking at Black Friday, it appears there are two opposing groups.  There is the group that loves finding bargains or just enjoys the social aspect of hanging with family and friends.  For many in this group it has become a family tradition that they look forward to each year.

The other group thinks anyone who will stand in line for hours or jostle with other shoppers just to get a bargain must be a little crazy.

Before I continue I must confess I belong to the later group.  I have never gone shopping on Black Friday.  In fact, I try to get my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving and avoid the stores as much as possible from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  Dealing with crowds is just not my idea of fun.

I certainly understand the many who love to shop and who enjoy the social aspect of the day, but I must confess it bothers me a little to see all the money we spent buying more “stuff” when our homes are already full while so many in other countries do not even have clean water to drink.  Or, in our country so many are homeless.

Think of the number of wells that could be dug in Sierre Leone or other countries for the money spend this weekend.  Think of the food that could be donated to food banks here in our inner cities.

I certainly hope I do not come across as a Scrooge trying to take the joy so many get from Christmas shopping.

I just try it might be good when we start writing down our Christmas shopping list to go beyond thinking of our immediate family or circle of friends and look around to see those in need.  Perhaps we could cut down on our own shopping list and help others.

Just a few suggestions:

  • Check out your local food bank or homeless shelter and see what they could use to help the needy this winter.


  • Check out https://www.worldhope.org/ and donate to help provide clean water or healthcare to those not fortunate enough to be born in the USA.



  • Check out https://www.compassion.com/ and sponsor a child so that they can go to school and get nourishing food and healthcare they need.


  • Check out Mariatu’s Hope on Facebook and give clean water to a village or help for a new born.


Remember Jesus told us:

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Tale of Two Christmas Catalogs

Halloween is not here yet, Thanksgiving is over a month away and we have 70 days until Christmas.  But today when I went to my mailbox, I found two Christmas catalogs.  As I looked at them, I was struck by how different these appeals for my shopping dollars were.  One was from American Girl and one from Compassion.  Each showed pictures of children receiving gifts.  The gifts received were worlds apart.  As I looked at the gift selections from both magazines, I realized that I needed to really think seriously about where I would spend my Christmas dollars this year.

On the one hand, I could go to American Girl and order a doll for my granddaughter for $115.  Or, I could go to Compassion International and for approximately the same amount I could help provide a village with safe water for life and provide a family with livestock that could help them become self-supporting.

Now I don’t mean to be Scrooge or suggest that we are wrong to buy dolls for our granddaughters.  I have spent many a dollar on my grandchildren and plan to continue to do so.  Grandchildren are such a blessing and gift from God.  If you have grandchildren, one of the joys of life is to give them gifts, especially at Christmas, and to see their eyes light up with happiness.  But as I look at the children in the Compassion magazine who need clean water, food and basic clothing, I find it harder to spend so much money on grandchildren whose toy boxes are running over, whose CD rack is full and who sleep every night in a warm, soft bed with a full stomach after taking a bath with hot clean water.

We Americans spend so much money on “things.”  It is amazing the money spent on Halloween alone.

Don’t mean to suggest that we should not buy gifts or enjoy our blessings as Americans.  Just asking us all to think a little bit about our spending – and maybe use some of our money to help those who are so desperately in need this Christmas.