Continuing with our "Living for Jesus This Christmas" series, we have another post filled with hope for you this holiday season. 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. For some this means absolute joy, for others it’s a more difficult time of year. I understand both sentiments—as I have had both throughout the years.

No matter where you are this time of year, or how you feel about it, I have a hope-filled message for you.

Right from Jesus’ birth, we see how God likes to surprise. He doesn’t choose the richest woman in the land to give birth to Jesus, but instead one of the impoverished. The angel Gabriel says to Mary:

“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. … Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in the womb and will give birth to a son, and you will call his name Jesus. This one will be great, and he will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the one to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:28–38 LEB).

Mary’s ultimate reply, after learning that she, a virgin, will conceive miraculously: “Behold, the Lord’s female slave! May it happen to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 LEB).

Mary speaks truth. These are words each of us need to hear today: May we act according to God’s will, so attached to him that it resembles a slave following his or her master. May God’s will happen according to his word.

But these are not just contemplative words—they are words of gratitude and joy. Although Mary may be feeling perplexed, she is in wonderment. She sees that great and wonderful things are coming (Luke 1:29, 34). And even when we are perplexed, we should look to God in wonderment too—knowing that he will do great and mighty things.

Christmas is meant to remind us of the great and wonderful things coming our way. We are meant to celebrate the occasion with pure joy. We should contemplate both what God did by becoming flesh—forever marrying humanity to himself—but also how he chose to become flesh.

God could have chosen a rich young woman or a queen. He could have chosen to be born into wealth and power. But that’s not what God chose. God chose a humble and honorable woman. He chose someone from poverty, who had no power at all.

And in this act, and so many others in Jesus’ life, we see that this is really what the Christian journey is about: a walk with God, in humility, grace, and love.

Christmas reminds us of all this. But Christmas also reminds us of Mary’s words about Jesus:

“My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced greatly in God my Savior, because he has looked upon the humble state of his female slave, for behold, from now on all generations will consider me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for generation after generation to those who fear him. He has done a mighty deed with his arm; he has dispersed the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly. He has filled those who are hungry with good things, and those who are rich he has sent away empty-handed. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, just as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever” (Luke 1:46–56 LEB).

This is what God does. This is who God is. This is what God is about.

May you be filled with joy today. May the power of the living Christ transform you and work through you. May you realize who God really is, and act according to his ways—lifting up the lowly and feeding the hungry.

This article was previously published under the title, "A Song of Gratitude for Christmas Day: Joy No Matter What."

You can still choose fair trade for Christmas.

Get your fair trade products by Christmas. Simply order today and select express mail. Choose from any of our fair trade products from Haiti, Guatemala, Brazil, Uganda, and Kenya.

*Please note that orders from Rwanda and Nepal will not be filled in time for Christmas. 

Shop Fair Trade for Christmas

 

This winter, JesusEconomy.org has hundreds of new fair trade products from all around the world. Check out these simple and useful golden baskets from Brazil. Carefully woven from locally sourced golden grass, or capim dourado, these baskets are lightweight, flexible, and beautiful—perfect for your knitting project, memorabilia from a favorite vacation, or an assortment of fruit on your table.

 

Baskets from Brazil: Aguarde Oval Basket with Lid 

Made from natural and renewable resources, this fair trade basket is good for your home, good for the world, and good for the artisans that created it. Complete with a lid, this basket is a great option for storage around your house. The small size, with a diameter of 4.5 inches, would be perfect for spare change, or use the large one, with a diameter of 7 inches, to keep your collection of sewing buttons.

 

Baskets from Brazil: Golden Grass Cesta Trança  

This large basket features beautiful braids in a traditional Brazilian design. At 14” x 10” x 5”, this basket is ideal for placing an assortment of fruit or flowers. Imagine it as a centerpiece at your holiday table!

 

Baskets from Brazil: Golden Grass Cesta Trançita 

This oval basket has a simple and modern design, and could be a stunning conversation piece in your living room. Use it to hold your T.V. remotes, or maybe some coasters and a box of tissues. And when your company asks about it, tell them about fair trade and how the basket empowers women in Brazil and is also kind to the environment.

 

Baskets from Brazil: Golden Grass Conter Oval Basket With Lid  

Keep your hair bands and bobby pins in one place with these fair trade baskets. They are small and sleek, and can keep you organized. Support fair trade and buy a Brazilian basket today!

 

Shopping fair trade is responsible shopping. And if you’re a last minute Christmas shopper, consider giving one of these baskets as a gift! Be sure to select express mail at the checkout in order to get it in time for Christmas.

 

Shop Fair Trade from Brazil  

 

Still need that last-minute gift? We have you covered. Simply choose Priority Mail when you make a purchase today, and you'll get it by Christmas. Jesus' Economy has hundreds of new products this fall, including adding tons of new products within the past few weeks, and you'll be sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. But today is the last day to order priority mail and receive your gifts by Christmas, so hurry! 

 

Shop Fair Trade for Christmas

 

This does not apply to our fair trade from Rwanda or Nepal. You can still order products from these countries, but your gifts will not arrive by Christmas. 

The fair trade shop at JesusEconomy.org has some new baskets—just in time for last minute Christmas shopping! Now you can shop fair trade, take care of the environment, and decorate and organize your home at the same time. Here are a few of the beautiful fair trade baskets and storage units created by artisans from Rwanda.  

 

Baskets from Rwanda: Constellation in Black & Tea   

This basket comes in small, medium, or large, and is perfect for serving or display. You could put a small basket near your front door and use it for keys, or a medium basket on your dining room table filled with fruit. Each basket also has a loop on the back for easy hanging, and they would look gorgeous on your living room wall. And when your guests ask about it, tell them the story about where it comes from and how you positively impacted a community in Rwanda.

 

Banana Leaf Tapered Tray from Rwanda

This tray is crafted from locally-gathered stalks of leaves from banana trees. The leaves are carefully threaded around the stalks, and the result is a super sturdy tray that’s great for any use. Buy one, or buy three—they’re easy to stack!

 

Baskets from Rwanda: Teardrop in Red and Natural  

This unique and beautiful bamboo basket is handcrafted in the traditional Rwandan technique. It is lightweight and delicate, perfect for display or for holding your treasures. Each of the colors is created with natural dyes such as tea, soot, and rock applied to the grass with banana flower.

 

Banana Twine Magazine Tote from Rwanda

The magazine tote is a great basket that makes a practical decoration, and an easy on-the-go carrier. With hand-spun banana leaf twine, this basket is sturdy and durable, and perfect for a stack of books, a few skeins of yarn, or some of your tot’s favorite toys. It could even work as a little picnic basket! Buy one and bring hope to artisans in Rwanda!

 

Banana Leaf Nesting Cubes from Rwanda

These beautiful rustic boxes are a wonderful way to stay organized in fair trade style. They are available in three sizes, and they fit inside each other nicely. These cubes are practical and durable, and are the perfect way to manage craft supplies, toys, or sweaters. The large size is even designed to fit into regular modular storage shelves. You can’t go wrong with these storage cubes, and you can’t go wrong with fair trade.

 

Baskets from Rwanda: Traditional Grass Peace Basket in Black and White

This striking basket is the quintessential Rwandan gift. In Rwanda, these baskets are often used to hold other gifts—like the one given by every bride to her new husband’s mother. This type of basket is often used to hold dry goods like beans or rice. Each grass basket takes an entire week to weave, and it’s made from all-natural and locally grown materials. Be smart about the environment, support artisans around the world, and buy one of these baskets!

 

Banana Panel Storage Box from Rwanda   

Having trouble staying organized? These boxes are the answer! Created with banana leaves. These boxes are practical and can hold up to your demands! Use one to store your favorite photos, some small toys, or use it to stack napkins in the middle of your table. Pick up a fair trade storage box and change a life in Rwanda today!

 

Doing some really last minute gift shopping? Today is the last day to order first class mail and get it by Christmas! Today is also the last day to order Azizi Life fair trade until after the holidays!

Shopping fair trade brings communities together, treats the earth right, and is an all-around ethical way to buy things for yourself and for others.

 

Shop Fair Trade from Rwanda 

 

 

Anyone who loves to be in the kitchen or who loves to entertain guests knows kitchen products are important. Having the right tools or table settings can make all the difference. That's why you or the chef in your life will love our kitchen line from Mayamam Weavers. 

The artisan co-op, Mayamam Weavers, is a group of women from Guatemala who refuse to leave their home country and families behind to make a living. So they made a way to support themselves and their families while staying in their communities. They weave all of their products by hand on looms using different techniques and tie in their Mayan culture. 

Here's 5 Kitchen Products the Chef in your Life will Love 

1. Table Runners from Guatemala: Mustard Plaid

This table runner is made from sturdy, handwoven cotton. It's also machine washable and dryable, which is a big plus. Most table runners are delicate and need to be washed by hand which is tough to manage when after almost every time you use it, it has food stains on it. But this one? Throw it in the machine and you're set. It also comes in celery plaid and ocean plaid. 

2. Kitchen Gift Set from Guatemala: "Cajola Red" Pot Holder and Towel

This sturdy handwoven cotton set comes in a variety of colors and patterns. The potholder features a loop for hanging, doubles as a gripper, and is lined with insulbrite. Both the towel and the pot holder are machine washable and dryable. 

3. Aprons from Guatemala: Mustard and Eggplant

The Mayamam Weavers group handweaves a multitude of aprons, in a variety of styles, patterns, and colors. My personal favorite is the bistro style and you just know the chef in your life would love one of these styles to wear while they work in the kitchen. 

4. Table Napkin Sets from Guatemala: Celebration in Magenta

 

 

 These napkins come in a set of four with mitred corners and are 20" x 20". They are handwoven and come in a variety of bright colors and patterns that are sure to make your table pop.

5. Dish Cloths from Guatemala: "Red and White" Hache Weave

These dish cloths are made with a hache weave which is perfect for working as a scrubbing dish cloth. It's also highly absorbent and features a twill hook for hanging. The dish cloths woven by hand come in many different colors and patterns and come two to a set. 

Shop these kitchen products and more in our collection from Guatemala in our Fair Trade Shop.

Remember, there's only a few days left to order first class mail and receive it by Christmas. 

Christmas shoppers please note: the last day to order Rwandan products in time for Christmas is December 18. Also, Jesus' Economy will be unable to ship Nepali products between the dates of December 16 to January 4.

 

You can never have too many bags. And we've got plenty to choose from in our Fair Trade Shop; whether it's purses, clutches, totes, or weekender bags. The artisan co-op, Mayamam Weavers, is a group of women from Guatemala who refuse to leave their home country and families behind to make a living. So they made a way to support themselves and their families while staying in their communities. They weave all of their products by hand on looms using different techniques and tie in their Mayan culture. 

Here's 4 Bags from Guatemala we love and know you will too

1. Weekender Tote Bag in Caramel 

This weekender tote bag is perfect for a day trip or weekend away. Made from sturdy, handwoven cotton with a fabric liner so you know this bag will last you years to come. Also comes in Indigo Blue. 

2. Beach Tote in Stormy Blues and Carousel

If you live near a beach or make it a regular summer vacation, you know a large, sturdy tote bag is a MUST. Handwoven with cotton canvas and lined with waterproof ripstop nylon, this is the perfect bag to hold all your needs for a trip to the beach.

3. Cross Body Bags from Guatemala in Black

Every woman has had that moment in her life where her purse or bag is in her way. Enter the beauty that is cross body bags that allow your hands and shoulders to be free. Made from handwoven cotton with an outside zipper pocket and interior slip pocket. Also, comes in Emerald Green and Cobalt Blue. 

4. Rolltop Backpack in Caramel 

This backpack is made from 100% handwoven cotton both inside and out. It has a wide zippered pocket, side pocket, and fabric liner. The straps are also padded so that you don't get that pinch you experience with most backpacks. It also comes in Indigo Blue. 

Find these and other great bags handwoven from Guatemala in our Fair Trade Shop. 

There's only four days left to order first class mail and receive it by Christmas. 

You can help revitalize communities simply by how you shop. To connect you more closely to where your product came from, we're introducing a new feature: Shop by Country.

Behind every product is a story. With JesusEconomy.org, you can make the story one of community revitalization. You can be part of creating jobs for people in the developing world.

Select a Country to Help through Your Shopping

We're making it so that only when you give, but also when you shop, you can help others.

As JesusEconomy.org has become even more popular, we've noticed that there's a trend. Some people shop with us because they're particularly passionate about certain countries: They want to create jobs in Haiti, Guatemala, BrazilKenya, Uganda, Rwanda, or Nepal.

Purchase a Product that Reflects a Culture

Many people shop with Jesus' Economy because they're looking for something special. They want something like:

Many of our products feature traditional patterns and designs, reflecting cultures from around the world. These products honor a culture and create fair-wage jobs.

This is just one of the many fun advantages of shopping by country: Seeing what's unique from each country. But the greatest advantage is knowing that your purchase makes a real difference in a real person's life. Your shopping means something.

Shop by Country 



The Mayamam Weavers co-op in Cajolá, Guatemala is making waves with their beautifully woven products. In this village, 94 percent of the population lives in poverty and most of the people who live there have no opportunity to get an education. But Mayamam Weavers are creating stunning home goods using traditional Mayan patterns and techniques. These women receive fair wages, education through the sixth grade, and then access to scholarships if they want to continue their education. Life isn’t easy in Cajolá, but these women are determined to make it better.

Mayamam Weavers make an array of wonderful goods from aprons and towels, to bags and belts. Each of these products is handmade with care and supports the futures of dozens of Guatemalan families.

 

Handwoven Fair Trade

 

 

Shopping fair trade brings hope to people around the world. And with Christmas coming up, you can find anything you need for last minute gifts. Today is the last day to order with regular ground shipping and get it by Christmas!

 

Shop Mayamam Weavers 

 

 

At this time of year, we see "Believe" stenciled on the side of shopping bags and "Hope" displayed in block letters on mantles. It can all feel a little empty, especially when you feel like God isn't answering your prayers. This leads to the questions: But what is belief, really? And what does having hope really mean? In this sermon, I look at how the biblical book of Esther never mentions God directly and in the process profoundly answers these big faith questions.

 

Subscribe to our free sermon audio via the Jesus' Economy Podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud. This post is part of our series "Living for Jesus This Christmas."