I don’t know about you, but my Christmas shopping list seems to get smaller and smaller every year. I can remember in years past taking day trips to Chicago to shop on the Magnificent Mile, window shopping and looking for the perfect gift that would catch my eye and make me think of a particular loved one or another. It would also often include an afternoon spent inside Marshall Fields looking for the one thing that would express my appreciation to my parents or roommates. I remember as a child heading out in December with my mother to consider how I would spend my hard earned babysitting money on a gift for my brother or my best friend.
December has arrived, and most of my shopping is already done, not in stores but online, and those closest to me and I have decided that being together for the holidays is more important than buying one thing or another that we really don’t need.
I remember as a child counting all the presents under the tree as the unwrapping unfolded, and noticing how many gifts there were for my mother yet to be opened. I couldn’t understand how there would always be so many. Years later I finally understood that my mother had to shop for everyone on our family’s list. My dad only had to shop for her. And he did it with joy.
But now as adults, though we look back on those Christmases past with nostalgia, we repeat again and again how little we really need these days and how we want to do Christmas well without all the presents.
As we have grown up and into this tendency to simplify Christmas, we often purchased alternative gifts for one another as a way to give without growing the clutter.
The thing I appreciate so much about the opportunity to continue this alternative gift tradition through the Advent Gift Market at BMPC, is that these gifts represent more than just a charitable act: They represent relationships.
That is what I valued in those past years of shopping – because the gifts represented the time it took to express my appreciation for the relationship between me and my intended recipient. That is what I don’t want to lose.
Every single partner and gift included in the BMPC Advent Gift Market Catalog represents a relationship: volunteer relationships, giving relationships, Presbytery relationships, co-working relationships, caring relationships, teaching relationships, mentoring relationships and even advocacy relationships.
These are the organizations that every other day of the year, our congregation has chosen to partner with in mission and ministry. Through the AGM you are invited to help us celebrate and support those relationships during the holiday season.
This is our chance through acts of giving to both recognize and value our personal relationships through gifts that benefit the important mission relationships we value in our church family.
Gifts can be purchased through the AGM for the next three Sundays in December at 11:15 a.m. in the Ministries Center Court. Gifts can also be purchased online.
And in case you haven’t seen it yet, click here to read through our 2016 AGM catalog that provides more information about our relationships and the good work our partners are doing here and around the world throughout the year.