Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My slave-free Christmas

I'm convicted.
Today, 27 million men, women, and children live as someone else’s property.  Slaves are making the items that I’m buying to celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior.  Somehow I don’t think He’s blessed by the blood on His birthday presents. - A Slave Free Christmas
It all started with my blog post about chocolate.

Actually, it goes back to my first brothel visit in El Alto, Bolivia in 2007.  I met women and very young girls who were bought and sold for sex and money.  That's when I really understood that slavery still existed.

I ate lunch with women and transvestites who prostituted.  Some were physically forced or coerced, though many found themselves in poverty's grip and no way to feed their families without working the strip.

Needless to say, I've been ruined.  I bawled in my car after watching the movie Taken for the first time. Sure, the movie had a happy ending, and the story was fictional, but there was so much truth on the screen that I wanted to vomit.

Comments and movies about "prostitutes" disgust me.  I'm repulsed by pornography and sex addicts.  It's rooted in greed, disrespect, selfishness, and the love of money, which the Bible warns as the root of all evil.  Selfish acts at the expense of the world's most vulnerable.  Those who cannot defend themselves.  Those who cannot speak up.

Enter Jesus.  The One who changed everything.

Christ, who first appeared as a lowly babe in a manger, came to proclaim good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, set captives free, break the chains of slavery, and trade beauty for ashes.

The One who redeems, purifies, sanctifies.
The Giver of Hope, the Almighty Counselor, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace.

The Reason we celebrate Christmas, and the reason I'm striving to be a conscious consumer this holiday season and beyond.

If you are a pinterest junkie like me, follow my Slave-Free Gift board here.  I've compiled tons of beautiful products that benefit beautiful people across the globe.

Here are a few to wet your appetite:

I can't reveal what I purchased, yet, because certain family members read my blog and will be receiving some of these beauties for Christmas.  *act surprised - you know who you are* I will tell you, however, that I have been over-the-top impressed with their customer service, website, and their mission.  Plus, if you sign up for email updates, you'll get a code for $10 off your first order.  Bam!

This is where my slave-free Christmas gift-giving was born.  I happened upon this site, read this post, and then browsed through all these amazing products and purchased a few.  Inspired, yet?

Light Gives Heat empowers Africans through the encouragement of economic sustainability and creative endeavors.  I am digging this necklace:
P.S. Free shipping on orders over $45.

Noonday Collection: "When you satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will shine like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10  I'm drooling over their necklace collection.

Sari Bari is near and dear to my heart because they are a ministry of Word Made Flesh.  I've never been disappointed by any purchase from them - my favorite is the burlap tote which I literally bring everywhere: camping, grocery shopping, road trip, retreats, youth group.  Each product is handmade by a woman who has left prostitution.  She learns how to sew and can then provide for her family.  Suti Sana, the Bolivian version, can be found here.  Suti Sana is an opportunity for holistic transformation for women attempting to leave prostitution.

Handmade jewelry by Ugandan women. You won't be disappointed!  (Google coupon codes for discounts.)


I don't think I have ever been this excited about gift-giving.  I am in love with each product I've ordered - not only for it's unique, beautiful craftsmanship, but because it symbolizes new life for the one who made it.

Would you consider shopping slave-free this Christmas?  Make it your new year's resolution.  The products are too beautiful to pass up, and the people are too valuable to ignore.

There are TONS more worthwhile sites on my Pinterest board. (Gifts for men and kids, too.)

I'll end with a few of my favorite nuggets:

Live simply so others may simply live.
With greater knowledge comes greater responsibility.
Love your neighbor as yourself.