Exchanging gifts, giving presents is among the first thoughts we have when thinking of Christmas. Certainly, giving is at the heart of Christmas. The Christmas story is – God gave his only son, Jesus. Giving is a central theme of Christmas, both biblical Christmas and worldly Christmas as celebrated today.
For most of us Christmas reminds us of the joy of giving. Oftentimes springing from our childhood and the gifts we received, be it candy and fruit or the toys of our dreams, we were on the receiving end of someone else’s giving. From the good feelings of childhood receiving at Christmas, we grew into wanting to be part of the giving. We began giving to our parents (usually with their money). Then we progressed giving to our siblings, closest friends, and later with our teen sweethearts.
As our giving continued to grow it also has taken on a different role than our childhood. The spirit of Christmas and the joy of giving, for many, has been replaced with the mentality of duty or obligation. Much of our giving today is done because we believe it is expected of us – and for many, it is expected.
Regardless of our current role in life each of us has much we can give. A single, struggling mother may not have a lot of money or time, but she has love, compassion, and wisdom to share. The CEO has much more than money and power, he has the power of encouragement and influence, wisdom to share, and a listening ear. Church members, you have time, prayer, wisdom, and your obedience to God’s directives. Employees, you have dedication, commitment and wisdom to pass on to your peers and new hires.
Perhaps you noticed one common attribute in each of the above scenarios, wisdom. Regardless of who we are, where we’ve been, or the amount of education we have, God has granted us wisdom through our life’s experiences. When we do not learn and share from our life’s experiences, we are wasting the wisdom of God’s teaching. And wisdom is only one attribute that we each have to give.
Let us return to the joy of giving at Christmas time. Leaders, pastors, members, employees, volunteers, neighbors, slow down this week and think of all that you have to give that does not involve money or wrapping paper. This Christmas week remember, God gave His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, for you. This is a lesson we ALL can learn from a Bethlehem stable.
Merry Christmas to one and ALL!
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.