Oh Holy Day

December 18, 2015

The Alternative Gift Fair at Harvard Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Photo: courtesy Rev. Courtney Richards

The Alternative Gift Fair at Harvard Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Photo: courtesy Rev. Courtney Richards

Don’t we all have that one person (or those dozen people) in our lives for whom, every year – every single solitary stinkin’ year – we think: Oh holy day. WHAT are we going to get (him/her/them) this year?

EVERY year, we ask ourselves this question, right?! Often more than once. Often with such inner turmoil and woe that it actually drains every bit of joy from the ‘I got this for you! I hope you love it!’ sense with which we WANT to be able to give gifts to those we care about. I mean, REALLY. Why would you give someone something in a spirit of ‘Oh dear Lord, I hope this is somewhat close to perhaps being a little bit acceptable.’ Come on.

In this year’s ‘Best Gift’ catalog, my friends at Church World Service said:

“You won’t find any gadgets or gizmos or gimmicks in our catalog, only the tools and resources that we need to do the most good around the world. So, share the power of money well spent and buy today to change tomorrow.”

WELL! Problem solved! What better gift to give someone you care about – who really doesn’t need another thing to wear, store, clean, fix, recharge, or tend to – than to say ‘I’ve given a gift in your name that will work to remedy poverty and injustice.’ How great is that?!

My favorite question (in November!) from a parishioner? “Are we going to have the Alternative Gifts table again this year? I wanted to plan my shopping.”

Why yes, I barely suppressed, “WHOOHOO! THEY GET IT!”

Throughout Advent, up until Christmas Eve, a display stands in our commons (gathering area). We chose 15 gifts, in amounts from $25 to $100, then created simple gift cards (“a gift of ____ has been given in your honor”) for giving to the honoree, leaving receipts for the church allowing us to specify contributions to CWS.

Simply select your gift. Leave the receipt with your payment. Take the gift card (already in an envelope!) to give or send, to let your special recipient know of the good done in their honor. Changing lives around the world, in honor of those at home.

Oh holy day.

Yes indeed. More so than you can possibly imagine.

As Connections Pastor at Tulsa’s thriving Harvard Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Rev. Courtney Richards helps guests, regular participants and members make connections with each other, the community, and the work of their own spiritual practice. This is the second year Harvard Ave is using the CWS Best Gift Catalog to guide their ‘alternative giving’ … which Courtney’s friend Angela Rupchock-Schafer wanted her to tell you about, hoping YOU will do it too (which you really very much should).