Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | December 5, 2010

New Christmas Paradigm

Houston en route to Cambodia

Mother Teresa challenged her Missionaries of Charity to go into the streets and the dark places of Kolkata to look for Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor. He is there — wearing the guise of the least of these, hiding beneath the downcast eyes of the lonely and disenfranchised, and suffering quietly in the blurry world of our peripheral vision. He is easy to overlook but a little harder to ignore once you find Him. While we should look for Him throughout the year, we should not miss Him at Christmas. Jesus said that what we do for the least of these we do for Him (Matt. 25:49). So, what will we do for Him this Christmas?

I am encouraged by the number of Christ-followers who are celebrating Christmas in a new and refreshing way. Instead of making Christmas all about us, these Christ-followers are changing the paradigm by giving of themselves as well as giving gifts to the least of these — the kind of gifts that restore hope and affirm the value of others. I am not suggesting that you trash your family traditions of gift-giving. But, I am suggesting that you consider adding a new dimension to your Christmas observance this year by challenging your family to look beyond the warmth of your hearth to those who are suffering and hurting in your community. And I am asking that you consider spending less on yourselves so that you can give more to those in need.

This past Sunday, Pastor Alex shared that he and Christy are giving a specific dollar amount to each of their kids with one proviso — they must invest this money in helping others this Christmas. The burden is upon each of their kids to look for the people they will help. This will force them to look beyond the lights and distractions of the season in order to find Jesus in the distressing disguise of those in need. But, I am confident that they will find Him. And when they do, they will make a difference. The cool thing is that this will add a wonderful new dimension to their Christmas observance, especially when the Kennedy family gathers on Christmas Eve to share the stories of how they used their funds to help others. My wife and I were challenged and inspired by what Pastor Alex and Christy are doing so we are going to do the same thing with our three kids. We can’t wait to hear the stories our kids will share when we gather as a family on Christmas Eve.

Yesterday, a friend called to tell me that he and his wife and kids had a talk about how they will observe Christmas this year. Their kids said that they don’t want much for Christmas. So, when this family considered how much they will save by purchasing less, they decided to help two families in need with the savings. They called and asked me to help them work out a way for them to do this anonymously. This family lives modestly but loves extravagantly. They could use these funds for other personal needs, but instead they have chosen to demonstrate the true spirit of Christmas — selfless giving and loving regard for the welfare of others. This family and the two families that anonymously receive their generous financial gift will remember this Christmas in a whole new way.

So, what will you do for Jesus this Christmas? Is He on your gift list? Will your Christmas be confined to those gathered around your Christmas tree or will it extend beyond your home? Will you help make possible the Christmas miracle someone in need is longing for? Do you need to shift your Christmas paradigm to include Jesus in the distressing disguise of the least of these? What will you do to help your kids consider people in need and how God can use your family to make a difference? Do Christmas in a bold, new, and refreshing way this year by living incarnationally, spending less, giving sacrificially, and loving extravagantly.


  1. Omar-

    Thanks so much for this great post! I am keep reading all the articles, and trying to learn through these posts. And these posts are helping me a lot.

    Mortuza Biswas

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