“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough, we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Most people like Christmas. What’s not to like. Yes, there are people who because of memories, or relational pain or for any number of other reasons tend to dread the holidays. But most people generally have a warm feeling about Christmas. Maybe it’s the collection of everything from the music, the anticipation, or the idea of thinking about yourself less and others more, due to gift buying. People just seem more merry and bright. As a pastor, I do know that more people seem open to church, religious activities and events than they do at other times of the year, some even feeling like it’s not really Christmas if we don’t go to church. Yet all this “good cheer” seems to only last for a few weeks around Christmas and then disappears for another year. The question is why.
My answer is simple. We live in an era of short shelf life and even shorter attention spans. Very little, if anything, has staying power. So sustaining something, especially something that’s seasonal, is hard to do. The reality is that for us to be really changed, we need to more like Jesus. And we need to be more like Jesus year round.
And that means giving ourselves to others. That means taking action. Jesus said in Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
I would suggest Jesus is not only talking about money, it is how you give your life to others in any form. During this season, who is it that needs forgiveness, encouragement or gifts of time, money or help? As Christians we need to find a way to give it.
A generous person gives grace to those who don’t earn it, don’t deserve it and without measuring whether they will return the favor. How we give out, is how we receive. How we “measure” our giving is how it will be “measured back to you.” How can we give more? To see God work beyond what you can see. To go out of your way to express your love for God and others by making some person’s Christmas more bright.
Instead of leaving God’s gift under the Christmas tree, let this be the year you share this gift with others. I encourage you to get involved in giving back this Christmas.
You can help others this Christmas in so many ways. First, recognize the blessings that God has given you and use them rather than wasting them. Use what you have to help others and show them that God loves them and came to earth to die for them.
1. Pray and ask God to let this Christmas time be a reminder to you of the importance of grace and giving. Think of some ways to give to others through acts of kindness and love.
2. There are opportunities to share the good news of Jesus. Some people see them as interruptions. Why do we not like God’s invitations? What do they interrupt?
3. God’s purposes do not always line up with our plans. They are greater than our plans. How do you feel about this? Would you respond different this Christmas knowing this?
4. If with God all things are possible, why do we not think “bigger” when it comes to giving of our time, talents and money during Christmas?