Why We Are Doing This

Our goal is to create a new holiday tradition that welcomes everyone from the City of Montgomery and throughout the River Region. We will work hard to make this hope of ours a reality in the way we plan and conduct the event.

We also want people to know something about why we are doing this. The following paragraphs aim to provide that explanation.

A Hopeful Vision

At the heart of the Jewish and Christian faith traditions lies a particular vision, a certain hope about the future. It is a vision of our world renewed and restored. There will be justice for the poor, liberation for the oppressed, and healing for the sick and disabled. Indeed, there will at last be peace and reconciliation – a true sense of togetherness – among people. According to the prophet Isaiah, people will “beat their swords into ploughshares” and their “spears into pruning-hooks.” (Isaiah 2:4) “The wolf shall live with the lamb.” (Isaiah 11:6)

What does this have to do with Christmas? The answer lies in historic Christianity’s belief about Jesus Christ. Christians have traditionally believed that the main point of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was to call this new world—this new creation—into being. And they believe that the Church, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, has been commissioned to help make that new world happen.

Some Nagging Questions

All of this raises some pretty haunting questions about our holiday gift-giving traditions.

Consider some items on a recent “top 10” list of ideal Christmas gifts. One item was a special toaster oven for emblazoning a piece of toast with your favorite NFL team’s logo. How does that gift — or any other trinket we might be tempted to give at the holidays — promote a better, more just, more peaceful world?

Enter the River Region Alternative Gift Fair.

We do not mean to denounce all forms of holiday frivolity. But we feel compelled to ask: What would happen if our Christmas gift-giving traditions became more aligned with the point of the Christmas event itself? What would happen if we began giving to our friends and families—and teachers and clients and coworkers—by giving to the organizations that are actively engaged in renewing our community?

A New Tradition

That is the point of the Gift Fair: to redeem our holiday shopping habits and to offer folks in the River Region a way to give gifts that matter—gifts that give hope, right here in our community.

We hope you will join us this year, and in the years to come, and make alternative gift-giving a new holiday tradition.