AP NEWS

Rev. Johnson: My Christmas wish: Invest in the community

December 9, 2017 GMT

I enjoy the Christmas season. I love seeing trees and lights and holiday decorations go up all over the city.

For me, it’s a special opportunity to spend time with my family, relax, eat great food and give thanks for God’s greatest gift, His son and our savior, Jesus Christ.

While I thoroughly enjoy this season, I realize that for various reasons not all experience Christmas in this way.

One reason that can make this particular holiday burdensome is the commercialization of Christmas.

Gift-giving and time with loved ones can get lost in the cost to “do Christmas.”

I am particularly troubled by how much many in our communities literally “buy” into the notion and increase the profits of companies who very rarely support our community.

In fact, we spend billions of hard-earned dollars each year that go directly into the pockets of others and that never benefit our community.

In “The Buying Power of Black America,” the Target Market News report revealed that Black households spent an estimated $507 billion annually in 27 product and services categories. This is alarming given that the total earned income of African Americans annually is around $836 billion!

This Christmas it is my prayer that we will make some different and better choices. Specifically, my Christmas wish for our community is that we think about every dollar we spend during this holiday, and try our best to circulate that $836 billion back into our communities by supporting our own.

How many of us will purchase gifts from African-American retailers? I know many will argue well, “Pastor, what I want to buy, there are no Black retailers or businesses.”

Now that may be true in some instances, however, I would argue that we have not tried hard enough to support our own.

Today, we live in a digital age.

If you use the internet to shop, you will find numerous websites where you can find various products and services offered by those from the community.

Consider buying some of your gifts from those that are made or sold by us, and more importantly, consider investing in our financial institutions.

If for some reason you cannot find a gift from an African-American business, then consider a second option: building wealth and investing in the African-American community.

If we do not invest in our own institutions, who will?

Beloved, we appreciate the freedom to spend our dollars wherever we like. Still, I pray that this Christmas will be different for you, your family and friends.

As we contemplate our Christmas purchases, let’s do so with greater sensitivity and enlightenment. We cannot continue to make others rich, while our businesses struggle and eventual close because we did not support them.

Lastly, here are some other things to consider making this a wonderful Christmas for you and your family:

1) Pray and plan your giving. Seek the help of the Holy Spirit to decide within your budget who, what and how much you can afford to spend on Christmas gifts.

2) Refrain from going into debt for gifts.

3) Be creative, particularly if one or more persons in the household is unemployed, come together as a family and think of ways to give or make gifts

4) Since it truly is more blessed to give than to receive, consider giving of your time and energy to those in greater need than you. Make it a family affair. Is there a local group, church or charity that you can volunteer to make others happy this season?

As always, keep the faith and have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!