I’d like to invite you to join Baptist World Aid Australia for An Extravagant Christmas.
When you think of the term “extravagant” you probably conjure up words and images like “opulent”, “lavish”, or “rich”. During the Christmas season, most of the messages we hear reinforce that it is a time to party hard and spend big. But, as Christians, we know the true meaning of Christmas extravagance… because our God has given us the most generous gift of all!
This Christmas, it is my hope that you would join us in following God’s example of extravagant love for the sake of others through your own generosity. But I would encourage you to remember that what we think of as wonderful, extravagant, and generous in our context as caring Christians here in Australia, may not be the best example of extravagant generosity in those parts of the world where the realities of everyday life are very different.
In Australia, the giving and receiving of gifts is a central tradition of how we celebrate Christmas together. Of course, when we consider the joy we feel both giving and receiving with our family and friends, we are inclined to translate that into how we would like to impact people in other parts of the world at Christmas time.
At Baptist World Aid we have the privilege, the challenge, and the mission to work in areas where people possess very little. The people we commit to serve are deeply burdened by the stress of providing food and shelter for their families and education for their children; they often live under the threat of conflict or disaster; they are susceptible to health challenges (which often prove deadly); and they struggle to earn an income to sustain their daily life.
To people living with these challenges, the gifts that we give one another at Christmas time may bring some joy for a few days… but they would not fundamentally change a family’s situation of poverty.
So how, then, can you bless people living in poverty this Christmas?
…what we think of as wonderful, extravagant, and generous in our context as caring Christians here in Australia, may not be the best example of extravagant generosity in those parts of the world where the realities of everyday life are very different.
At Baptist World Aid our experience has shown us that our friends across the world love our generosity! But what they really value most is the fact that we, with our local partners, are willing to spend years walking alongside them, supporting them to transform their lives. They are so grateful for your generosity as supporters and for your willingness to partner with them as they work to create a better future for their families. For many of the people we work with, this partnership represents the first time that others have valued their ideas and listened to their stories.
And they are thankful for the opportunity to draw on their own strengths as they bring an end to poverty in their communities. The work of Baptist World Aid is driven by our desire, as Christians, to be love. From this desire grows a love relationship hat reaches far beyond the realm of token gestures. And so, this is the essence of what I hope each of you will appreciate and act upon… not just this Christmas, but throughout your lives. Act extravagantly! Not on your own terms, but in a way which means dramatic change for those you seek to help.
A revelation of this kind of extravagant love and generosity can be world changing. By partnering with Baptist World Aid, you can help to bless people mightily while you honour God extravagantly! It may not feel as tangible as a colourfully wrapped gift, but in the long-term it is far more valuable.
This story is featured in Issue 17 of Be Love Magazine