What is CASCaid?
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CASCaid is about Christmas giving - with a difference!
The name CASCaid originates from Amos 5:24, in which the prophet voices God's concern that justice and righteousness should 'cascade' like rivers and prevail against the excesses and hypocrisy of religious feast days. Even 700 years before the birth of Christ, this was evidently a major problem!
CASCaid encourages people to put charitable donations at the top of their Christmas shopping lists.
Christmas shopping can be fun. But it can also be a hassle. And it can cost a lot of money, too. Nationally we spend tens of £billions on our Christmas shopping, whether on the high street or online. What a difference it could make to the homeless and hungry, whether in this country or overseas, if we reallocate our seasonal budgets before we even begin to prioritise charitable giving.
The Bible suggests that we can prepare for Christ's coming by sharing our possessions with those who have none (Luke 3:11). This is the principle of '50/50 giving' that has given rise to CASCaid. It stands for Campaign Against the Secularisation of Christmas - by the promotion of charitable giving or 'aid'.
And there's another cause for concern.
We all know that climate change is threatening our very existence. Excessive consumption of resources is a major cause of this. What better time to try to change our own habits than at Christmas?
By budgeting to put those who have nothing at the top of our Christmas present lists, we are not only helping to 'bring good news to the poor'. We are helping to sustain life on this planet. And that's good news for everyone.
What difference might CASCaid and '50/50 giving' make?
Well, for us personally...
We spend tens of £billions on ourselves at Christmas. Average spending per household has been estimated to be around £800 for the past few years.
But many of us aren't aware of how much we're spending. Sometimes we spread it over many months, or even years. The headaches come later, when the bills begin to come in. Some people find themselves shopping for next Christmas before they have paid for the last one.
Christmas is one of the greatest single causes of personal debt and is ranked as a leading cause of stress in many countries. It can trigger relationship breakdown, divorce, and even worse.
All of which has little to do with the real meaning of Christmas! The Magi, or wise men, in Matthew 2:11 were giving gifts to God incarnate, not to each other. The gift exchanging of more recent times partly originates from the pagan festival that Christmas was meant to replace. It does not originate from the Gospels.
And for the planet...
For one thing, we will help reduce the amount of waste. Less packaging, including less plastic (and yes, that includes sellotape, some ribbons, glitter and much else besides!) - not to mention unnecessary and unwanted gifts. Of course that has implications for manufacturers and the retail trade; but a retail-based economy is unsustainable and we need to come to grips with that.
So our Christmas giving could begin to move us toward a new, sustainable world economy. One that is based on sharing what we already have rather than continuing to purchase objects that we do not need. The earth has sufficient resources for all of us, but they are not equally distributed. It is up to us to begin to even things out.
A good starting point for bringing about economic change, and helping combat global warming, is to alter our own spending and giving patterns. And since Christmas is the biggest consumer festival of the year, it is an excellent time to begin. To quote a Chinese proverb, 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!'
Click on 'Top Tips' for suggestions about ways of giving to charity while still having plenty for ourselves, and plenty of fun too!