Is it better to give or to receive? It’s a question you may ask yourself a lot this Christmas season. Receiving presents feels great! But so does giving them to people you care about, doesn’t it?
In Acts 20:35, Paul reminds us that “the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Your family gives so much to the child you sponsor! But did you ever think about all you receive because your family sponsors?
Just ask Dimas and Rachel. Dimas is in Compassion’s program in Indonesia. He is sponsored by Rachel and her family in the U.S. Let’s sing an Explorer version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Dimas and Rachel will guide us through the song to show what kids give and receive through sponsorship!
On the 1st day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
a party for a special baby ...
These girls in Uganda have a lot to smile about — they’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday at their Compassion center! Some kids in their neighborhood may not know much about Jesus. But sponsored kids learn about Jesus and why His birthday is so important! They also receive Christmas presents. Some of the kids have never received a present before in their lives because their families don’t have enough money to buy gifts. So Compassion Christmas parties are extra special!
On the 2nd day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
2 treasured letters ...
When you and your family’s sponsored child write to each other, you become long-distance friends! How do you feel when you receive a letter from your friend in another country? It’s like a far-away friend giving you a gift by writing to you. And sponsored kids — like Daniel, the Bolivian boy pictured here — get SO excited when they receive letters from their sponsors! You can share joy just by writing a letter!
Letters from your sponsored child also give you a sneak peek into what life is like in another country. What if you set a New Year’s resolution to learn all about your sponsored child’s culture? Then research the foods, art, customs, clothing and languages common to where he or she lives.
Here’s how to wish someone a merry Christmas in five countries …
Suba Naththalak Wewa
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka
Heri ya Krismas!
On the 3rd day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
3 new books ...
Maria, 10, is doing her homework at home in Indonesia. Her village doesn’t receive electricity all the time. Maria never knows whether the lights in her home will work. So she does her homework when she comes home for lunch because it is still light outside.
Being sponsored helps give Maria the chance to get a good job someday. At school and her Compassion center, she is receiving the education she needs.
On the 4th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
4 ways to pray ...
By being sponsors, your family receives new reasons to pray and talk to God! And did you know that your sponsored child prays for you too? When you and your sponsored child pray for each other, you are giving and receiving God’s blessings! Before each meal, you can pray that your sponsored child receives enough food and clean water to stay healthy. And before bed, you can ask God to give your sponsored child’s family the shelter, bedding and clothing they need to sleep well. What other prayers do you say for the child your sponsor?
On the 5th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
5 baabyyy goooooaaaaaats! ...
These kids received goats from people who gave livestock through Compassion’s Gift Catalog. As cute as the goats are, they give so much more than their natural good looks! Goats give manure that helps vegetable gardens and fruit trees grow. Some adult goats give milk that families can drink or sell. They can also make more baby goats or even be used for meat. Wow — who knew goats were such a generous bunch?
On the 6th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
6 crafts for families ...
Sponsors like Rachel receive Compassion Explorer Magazine and learn how to make all kinds of family crafts — like this one for you to try at home!
Has your family ever had an Advent calendar? You know, the ones with flaps you open every day of Advent to get the special treats inside? This Advent jar is like an Advent calendar, but better! Making an Advent jar is one of Rachel’s favorite Christmas activities. Each year she decorates a jar. Her mom writes down 24 Christmas activities on slips of paper, folds them and puts them in the jar. Each day of Advent, Rachel shakes the jar, closes her eyes and picks one slip of paper. Then her family enjoys the activity written on the piece of paper!
On the 7th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
7 snow white cookies ...
Thanks to sponsors, kids in Compassion’s program receive healthy food. They also receive checkups to see how much they’re growing. And on special occasions, their Compassion center cooks might even give the kids sweet treats like cookies!
When Dimas went to his Compassion center Christmas party in Indonesia, he received seven of these traditional cookies to share with his family. Now he’s giving the recipe to you! It makes about 2 dozen cookies.
On the 8th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
8 Bible studies ...
Does your family put up a Nativity scene at Christmastime? Who’s in it? There’s probably Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. Maybe a few shepherds. But there is one other thing that most of us have in our Nativity sets: the wise men.
I have a secret for you, though. The wise men didn’t come until AFTER Christmas. They didn’t show up on Christmas morning, but came later. It took them awhile to get to Jesus because they had to travel a long way.
On the 9th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
9 holiday customs ...
In their letters to each other, sponsors and sponsored children can give each other a special peek into customs from their countries! Depending on where they live in the world, people have different customs — their own ways of doing things. Here are nine holiday customs from countries where sponsored kids live.
There are 10 countries with holidays set aside to give thanks. In the U.S., Thanksgiving is held every year on the fourth Thursday of November.
In Ghana there is a Thanksgiving-like festival every September. It celebrates one of the most common foods grown in the country: yams.
Mexicans celebrate Las Posadas — a nine-night celebration held Dec. 16-24 each year. Each night, people go to a party at a different home for prayer, music, food and piñatas.
Most Christian kids in Ethiopia wake up at dawn on Christmas morning. They put on white clothes called shamma and go to church.
In Bangladesh, Christmas Day is a national holiday called Bara Din, which means “Big Day.”
In Peru, families who can afford Christmas gifts usually place them around a Nativity scene — not under a tree.
Many Latin Americans celebrate Christmas Eve by setting off fireworks.
There’s a New Year’s Eve tradition in Colombia where some people carry around an empty suitcase in hopes they will get to travel a lot in the new year.
Some people in Ecuador celebrate New Year’s Eve by building large scarecrow-like figures and lighting them on fire at midnight. It’s their way of saying goodbye to “the old years.”
On the 10th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
10 kids a-caring ...
Kids whose families sponsor through Compassion come up with amazing ideas for helping others. We write about some of these kids in the Care section of Compassion Explorer Magazine!
In this issue, meet Aleigha — an Oklahoma girl who used her birthday party as a way to get Bibles to sponsored children around the world! Read about her here in the Care section!
(And if you know a kid who helps Compassion-assisted children, email us to let us know!)
On the 11th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
11 clever captions ...
On the 12th day of Christmas, sponsorship gave to me:
12 children singing ...
Music is an important part of Christmas celebrations everywhere. Whether you live in the U.S. like Rachel or a developing country like Dimas, you can give and receive Christmas joy through music! You could sing Christmas carols for neighbors or elderly people at a care center. If you play an instrument, you could write a song as a gift for someone.
Let’s put together the whole “12 Days of Compassion Christmas” song. It’s a mouthful, but that’s part of the fun! Read all the song lyrics and watch an example video here!