The Season of Giving – I saw the words on a Christmas Card I received in the mail yesterday. The words actually stopped me in my tracks as I made my way back from the mailbox to my front porch. Yes, gifts are an important part of Christmas. I’m not talking about Black Friday – the best deals – the best labels – or White Elephant Gifts at an office party. Amazon puts out “green Monday” each year. It is a term to describe the best day to get the most out of sales. I guess soon there will be Turquoise Tuesday – who knows? The essence of giving comes from God. His gift to us came in the form of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger…the Savior of the world…
“16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” 1 John 3:16-17.
The question which stopped me in my tracks half way between my house and the mailbox is what that giving actually looks like. Christmas giving intentionally meets the needs of others and not our own. Christmas giving deliberately lifts another up. Christmas giving singles out a person in need, has a heart of compassion, reaches deep within our own pockets, and changes the outcome of an individual.
My wife Connie asked me what I needed for Christmas this year. It is something she asks me every year. Some years I’ve answered with a need – maybe a Floor Jack or a new pair of boots. As the years add on to my already aging body, I realize there is very little I actually need. More and more I’m finding it is memories with my wife, my children, my grandchildren, and my friends that fill the needs of my heart.
We spend a great deal of time, scurrying about trying to order, trying to find, trying to fill some quota of presents under a tree – but what do our loved ones really need? What do our friends need? What does our community need? What does our nation and world need?
According to the scriptures, knowing what it feels like to be loved by God should prompt us to love others, to give to others, to show compassion for others. The world wants us to see it otherwise. The world wants us to give for all the wrong reasons; to be so distracted by monetary possessions that we overlook the beauty of the birth, the sweetness of the spirit of giving.
We’re in the middle of the season. I see the count down day after day – I witness the preparations around the office, in my home, and in our community. I want to encourage you to stop and consider why you give. Let it be according to God and not the world. Let it be for the needs of others and not the wants.
Let it represent Him.