A couple of you have asked for more details on The Christmas Jars that I posted on. I hesitated to post more on the story because the book is such a good read. But I don't want you to miss out on the blessing that is sure to come with filling and giving away a Christmas jar, so I'll do my best to summarize the premise behind the jars here.
The book, which appears to be a work of fiction even though it could just as easily be based on a true story, chronicles a budding writer who, after receiving a Christmas jar, decides to track down the people behind the tradition. The family who started the tradition used the jar initially to save money for their own Christmas. As newlyweds, the couple would take however much was in the jar, divide it between the two of them, and go to a local department store to buy the best gift they could buy with their half of the meager savings. This practice continued for several years until they had children.
It was then that the tradition took a different twist when their daughter gave their jar to a lady sitting on a curb as they were on their way into the bank to have the change turned into dollars so that they could go shopping. From that point on, they gave away the Christmas jar each year. Sometimes to a family who had lost a loved one, sometimes to a wealthy person who needed to learn how to receive (& possibly regift), and sometimes to a stranger who came across their path and was in obvious need.
The Christmas jar helped the family stay focused on others throughout the year and proved to be a blessing to them as they stored away their change day after day, anticipating the day when they would get to give it away. And ultimately, the tradition was carried on by the recipients, who started giving their own jars after being blessed by a Christmas jar.
As unexpected checks have come my way this month, I've cashed them and put them in the jar. As change weighs down my wallet, I empty it into the jar. And with each emptying, I am reminded of how Christ came and emptied Himself for us. So for me, the jar is already serving as a reminder to think about Christmas each and every day, instead of just in December. But there's a new anticipation about Christmas as I am looking forward to seeing who is supposed to receive my jar.
It's not too late to start a Christmas Jar. The initial ones in the book were started much later in the year. I hope you'll join me in this new tradition and that we can exchange stories this Christmas about what we learned from the tradition, how we made it our own, and how it blessed us.