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The Season Of Giving

Does reaching out and meeting the needs of others have to end once the ball drops and the New Year begins? I hope not.

December 2011

Thanksgiving has just finished, and as I bask in the glow of warm family relations and lingering turkey leftovers, my thoughts turn to this season of giving. The very thought that giving is a recurring seasonal activity is both warming and disheartening at the same time. I love that we are so generous this time of year, but what about the other 10 months?

Giving to those less fortunate resonates with so many Americans. There is something that is very fulfilling in helping meet the needs of others.  It makes you feel like you are making a real difference in someone else’s life.

According to a recent American Red Cross survey, 82 percent of Americans say, “Helping someone less fortunate is an important part of the holiday tradition.” Minnesota non-profits bring in 60 percent of their annual budgets during this final stretch of the year.

Here is what typical Americans will do during this season of giving:


Adopt A Family
One of the things our family loves to do during this season is to track down a family in need, adopt them, and then do all we can to get them the things they need. Invariably, the items they wish for are basic family needs, not a list of toys. We have always done this anonymously, to ensure that there is no awkwardness between their family and mine. We are not expecting anything in return; we just want to be a blessing to them.

We like the personal aspect of this type of giving because we are able to meet people’s very specific needs.

I love the fact that giving is emphasized and our hearts are focused on others during this particular season, but what I don’t like is—when January hits and the Christmas lights are turned off, when the decorations are taken down, and when the tree sits at the curb waiting for pick-up—how our thoughts about giving or helping others also begin to drift.

Almost as fast as they came, the bell ringers at the store entrances disappear, you no longer hear about the food collections at church, the toy drives have ended, magazine ads change from emphasizing gifts to endorsing exercise equipment, and the New Year’s resolutions begin in earnest.

Does reaching out and meeting the needs of others have to end once the ball drops and the New Year begins? I hope not.

The masses tend to make peace on earth and good will toward men…a seasonal occurrence. I want to break out of that rut. I want to find new ways of helping and blessing others throughout the year, not just throughout December.

In July, my thoughts are far away from helping the disadvantaged or giving to local charities, but I want to change that. I want to remember then—what I am experiencing now. Therefore I am purposefully going to remember to give of my time, my talents, and my money—above and beyond my weekly tithes to my local church.

In fact, I just added a recurring all-day calendar event for the first of every month to help others in need. It is a small step toward my goal of helping others consistently throughout the year, but it does help to put me into remembrance. And when I remember I am more likely to act in order to achieve my goal.

It is easy to get swept up in the holiday moments and remember “the reason for the season,” but when the season changes, I don’t want to pack away my giving attitude.

All Twelve Months
How about you? I’m sure you or your family can think of other creative ways to extend the spirit of giving that is so prevalent in November and December. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment or time-consuming endeavor…just something that resonates with you or your local community. Often, the smallest acts of kindness or generosity have the greatest impact.

I encourage you to distribute the holiday spirit of joy and giving—throughout 2012. Whether or not you set calendar reminders for yourself, the important thing to remember is that we all should strive to foster and maintain an attitude of service and giving by doing something regularly throughout the year.

Thank You
Speaking about ministering to people throughout the year, one of the most exciting things which happened in 2011 is that cfaith crossed the 20,000 member mark. That's right; more than 20,000 people have signed up for a free membership to our content website!

That means our extensive suppy of encouraging articles and inspirational media messages are ministering to thousands of individuals all around the world. It also means that cfaith's missionary and outreach efforts would not be possible without you.

Now more than ever, all of us at cfaith are grateful for your prayer support, financial donations, and ongoing encouragement. Together, we will continue to reach people, touch lives, and make a difference in 2012 and beyond.

We pray and thank God for you always. And on behalf of the entire cfaith staff, I want to wish you and your family a blessed Christmas season and a joyous and fulfilling New Year!

May His grace and peace be yours always,

Jon Larson
cfaith staff

Author Biography

Jeff Litfin
Web site: Generations Legal Services
As a Certified Estate Planner, Jeff works side by side with our attorney partners to provide each client with professional and comprehensive solutions. As our face to the client, Jeff utilizes his 30 years of public speaking, corporate communications, and business management experience to make the estate project process seamless. Jeff conducts GLS estate planning workshops and takes the lead role in client engagement. Clients appreciate Jeff's ability to take complex legal topics and explain them in an easy-to-understand manner. No one helps families and individuals navigate the Bermuda Triangle of estate planning (legal, finance, and tax) better than Jeff. In addition to his CEP certification, Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from North Central University and a Minnesota Life, Accident, and Health Insurance license.

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