The Christmas season is full of lights, from the soft flicker of Advent candles to the brilliant twinkle of trees festooned with string lights next to roaring fireplaces.
But for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), there’s another light on that list: solar lanterns.
Though not a traditional holiday light, this lantern truly embodies the Christmas spirit. That’s because solar lanterns are one of the gifts that provide comfort and joy to others through MCC’s Christmas Giving guide.
By choosing a gift, whether it’s a goat or a garden, you are sharing God’s love and compassion with vulnerable people around the world. Here’s how it works: First, you select a gift, which helps someone in need around the world. Then, you can send a card or e-card to your friends or family letting them know a gift was made in their name.
That difference is like night and day for Kazagobou Apouri, a student who lives in Burkina Faso. He is attending school but lives in a community without reliable electric lights. Before, sundown meant no more light for Kazagobou to do his homework.
That changed when a caring person like you gave him a special gift. It cost $9 to give Kazagobou a solar lantern that provides all the light he needs to study in the evening. Now, his dream of studying to become a high school teacher is within reach.
Kazagobou Apouri holds a solar-powered lantern provided through an MCC partner. He is in Grade 6 in Pô, Burkina Faso. MCC photo/Kinani Sourabié
So, when you brainstorm gift ideas this Christmas season, consider including one (or more!) of MCC’s Christmas Giving gifts to help others in need.
There are great options to honour everyone on your list, including outdoor explorers (fruit trees), teachers (education for girls), animal lovers (a brood of chicks), sewing enthusiasts (sewing lessons) and many more. Check out all your options here.
Learning about generosity with your family
Christians are called to be generous, as described in 1 Timothy: “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:18 NRSV)
These gifts are also a great opportunity to familiarize children with generosity and giving at a time when attention can easily shift toward receiving gifts.
Choosing a gift from the guide with your kids to send to friends or family puts the emphasis on generosity. Plus, certain gifts even come with a printable card to colour, a personal touch sure to make any recipient smile.
Pages from “Learning about generosity with MCC,” a free resource for families to learn about generosity in the Christmas season. MCC photo
To assist with learning about generosity in the Christmas season, MCC has also created a free, printable resource for families. Through activities, stories and questions, kids shift their attention from getting gifts to how they can show generosity to others.
You can download the resource, Learning about generosity with MCC, here.