Two years ago, we started a new tradition at the annual youth Christmas party. For years, we would gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus by bringing a gender-neutral $10 gift and doing a gift exchange similar to a white elephant, but with slightly higher quality gifts.

As you might imagine, shopping for a $10 gender neutral gift for teenagers can be quite the challenge. Eventually, most of the gifts became gift cards. They were perfect because whoever got them could choose their own gift.

But did we really need to shuffle $10 gift cards between each other? What if there was a better way to celebrate? What if there was a more meaningful way?

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. Genesis 12:1-2

God has blessed us in unbelievable ways, far beyond what we deserve. And while He blesses us out of His great love, there is also a greater purpose to our blessing. Like Abraham, we are to be a blessing to others.

So instead of swapping gifts, we now bring a donation of any amount and we pool it together. Everyone then gets an opportunity to decide how to turn the combined donations into a gift for others. We present a few options and then youth can choose how to help others, whether it’s providing Bibles to people in China or rescuing girls from the sex trade or providing food for kids around the world or helping families in need in our own country. Together, we use our blessings to bless others.

Are you holding on to your blessings, unwilling to be a blessing yourself? Or are you using them to bless others?