15 Dec Gifts That Endure
In O’Henry’s Christmas story The Gift of the Magi, a newlywed husband and wife each gives up something dear to bring to the other a surprise gift of unique value. In case you haven’t yet read this moving tale, I will say only that in the end, the gifts given dramatically teach us about the true meaning of giving, about gifts of love and sacrifice that are remembered forever.
Giving is the very essence of Christmas and the greatest gifts in the world are all about family, for family. As I reflect on gifts that have made a difference in my life, my thoughts turn not only to my own family, but also to what United Families International is accomplishing for families around the world.
We today who love and care for our families, often have precious little time or resources for much else. But if we are to preserve our own families, we cannot afford to ignore the harsh reality that families everywhere are under attack, beginning at the highest international level. Noted scholar Patrick Fagan of Family Research Council warns:
“Few Americans are aware that agencies within the United Nations system are involved in a campaign to undermine the foundations of society; the two-parent married family, religions that espouse the primary importance of marriage and traditional sexual morality, and the legal and social structures that protect these institutions.”
What’s at stake
The attack on the family is waged on many levels, spearheaded by powerful and well-funded organizations. Raising the banner of “tolerance” and “rights,” they relentlessly push a shocking social agenda that includes:
* “gay marriage” with the right of gay couples to adopt and raise children, and public school programs that promote homosexuality to children of all ages
* abortion as a fundamental human right, universally available regardless of parental consent or knowledge
* “sexual rights” of all children, including their access to sex education programs that promote promiscuity and homosexuality, and push the distribution of condoms
* limitations on parental authority to teach and enforce family values, and denigration of the roles of mothers and fathers.
These attacks are especially disturbing in light of the foundational and irreplaceable role of the family throughout history. The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius–selected by historian Will Durant as the greatest thinker of all time–declared: “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order.”
This ancient truth continues to be recognized today, as for example in the constitutions of nations around the world that refer to the family as the “basis of society,” “the foundation of society,” or, using other imagery, as “the basic cell” or “basic nucleus.” These and other interesting variations all recognize the key fact that, as expressed nearly half a century ago by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the family truly is the fundamental unit of society.
I am impressed by the insight expressed in the following words spoken by the U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family:
[The] “family is a universal and irreplaceable community, rooted in human nature and the basis for all societies at all times. As the cradle of life and love for each new generation, the family is the primary source of personal identity, self-esteem, and support for children. It is also the first and foremost school of life, uniquely suited to teach children integrity, character, morals, responsibility, service, and wisdom.” (UFI helped draft that language, by the way!)
What this shows is how much is at stake in the battle over the family. Impair or injure or obstruct the family, and you have jeopardized society, civilization, and everything we hold dear.
What you can do
One year on Christmas Eve, a gentleman walked into our office and, without ceremony or fanfare, handed us an envelope containing a major gift of funds. He had been deeply impressed with our work and its practical impact on children and families, and knowing that we were in need of funding, he gave. His gift was a sacrifice, and its effect has been real and powerful.
Thanks to that gift, we kept dangerous language out of UN documents that would have forced abortion upon countries around the globe. Thanks to that gift, we continue to provide our widely used UN-Negotiating Guide and other pro-family educational publications. Thanks to that gift, we helped protect marriage between a man and a woman in many states in America. Thanks to that gift, we were able to reach many thousands of African young people to help them make choices to avoid AIDS and prepare themselves for faithful marriages and successful families.
But our accomplishments have truly been a team effort, the result of the gifts of many volunteers and supporters. Our strength is the combined strength of a host of unselfish individuals and families who have generously assisted us, each gift being an essential part of our effort. To those wonderful supporters, I wish to convey my heartfelt thanks for your unselfish gifts.
My gift in return is to continue to serve to strengthen families–not only in my own home, but as a volunteer for UFI. I make this sacrifice of time and effort because I know that families today must be strengthened and because what United Families International is accomplishing is absolutely essential. Counseling with my husband and family, we decided that this service would be our gift to other families.
This particular holiday season as we give to friends and family, resources are very strained. The economic and political conditions of our world have created very difficult financial situations for many people and charities have suffered immensely. Whatever your means allow, I invite you to join our family of UFI supporters by making a gift for the benefit of families around the world. It is a gift that will endure, and it is urgently needed.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours!
United Families International
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