by Maureen Durso
For years I wrestled with Christmas – a painful experience – not unlike Jacob’s wrestling match with God in the book of Genesis. Like Jacob, the experience left me crippled. No, my hip wasn’t injured, but I became spiritually and emotionally crippled as regards one of the most sacred holidays in the Christian calendar.
I could find little in the way we, both as a nation and as a family, had come to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I well remember my daughter’s father running out on Christmas Eve to buy more gifts for her saying, “She doesn’t have enough stuff.”

“Christmas” began appearing in some stores prior to Halloween. Friends would proudly remark: “I have almost all my Xmas shopping done!” “I can hardly wait to get my house decorated!” “We are having 23 for Christmas dinner!” “I have all my cards addressed and ready to go!” “It won’t be long until we can take advantage of the after-Christmas sales!” There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but I wanted to scream, “BUT, WHAT ABOUT BABY JESUS?”
I could see little in the way I was celebrating to remind me of the story of the birth of that holy Child as told in our Scripture – nor anything to remind me that He came as a servant to the needy. I even felt short-changed by my church which held Christmas Eve Service at 6:00 so people who planned to open gifts that evening could get home to tear into the piles under the trees. And then, no service on Christmas day.

For Jacob daybreak came, God blessed him, and a new day was set before him. I, too, have ended my wrestling match with Christmas. As a first step, I wrote letters to relatives and friends explaining that for Christmas I would be making a donation in their names to Adoption Ministry of YWAM – Ethiopia. I urged them, in turn, not to send me a gift, but rather make a contribution to Adoption Ministry or a charity of their choice.
Over the past two or three years, many in our family have begun a new tradition in celebration of Christmas — ministering to the needy in Ethiopia via the YWAM Gift Catalog. God has blessed us and helped return to me the true Spirit of Christmas that feeds my soul while ministering to others who have genuine needs.

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The YWAM Gift Catalog is one way to give at Christmas and to love others as Jesus does by giving to those who really need help.  There are gifts for every budget and whatever you choose to give will be received with incredible joy! 
Your gift donation is income tax deductible and all donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most.  Let us know and we’ll be happy to send a card to someone in whose name you want to give.