Everyone seems to be a little more generous this time of year. Along with the holiday shopping, people are busy “doing good,” showing compassion, and caring for others. We, as Christians, have the ultimate example of compassion, care, and sacrifice from the life of Christ. And yet, every year I struggle with the juxtaposition of holiday materialism with Christmas generosity, longing to lead my family to give as Christ gives...in ways that are significant and not trite, personal and not commercial, valuable to the soul and the body. How might we contrast the good we do during the Christmas season, with the good we see in the world. Is there a difference? Should there be? Do you notice some of these differences...
The World Doing Good (What it Often Is)
- giving from excess
- focusing on the earthly
- the gift is a provision of material things
- passing on warmth and love from another human being
- sometimes motivated out of guilt
- sometimes motivated by self-prescribed righteousness
- convenient opportunities
- following example of humanitarians
- hope for change rests with people
Christians Doing Good (What it Ought to Be)
- sacrificial giving
- focusing on the spiritual
- the gift is a provision of material things and what is needed MOST: Redemption through Christ
- passing on warmth and love from another human being as a conduit of true love from a Savior
- motivated out of freedom from self-centeredness
- spurred on by righteousness of Christ, not our own
- costly in both time and resources
- following example of Christ
- hope for change rests with God, not our efforts
As I examine my own life, and my family’s practices during this holiday season, I’m convicted of the ways in which we don’t always give with Christ as our example:
I don't see Jesus giving what was leftover after he had his fill.
I don't see Jesus indulging and giving others opportunities to indulge along with him.
I don't see Jesus sharing a meal without sharing himself.
I don't see Jesus magnifying earthly treasures above heavenly ones.
I don't see Jesus rationing His generosity; I see Him giving His ALL.
Does that strike a chord with you as it does me?
Friends, my goal is not to burden us with guilt or inadequacy this Christmas season; instead, my hope is that we might see all that we have in Christ and through His example, and be FREED to share generously, serve unreservedly, and give of ourselves unabashedly.
Giving and sharing both physically and spiritually, as we see in our Savior, was not an afterthought or convenient propaganda for His agenda here on earth. It was His agenda. It was what He was born to do that Christmas day, and what He accomplished fully on the cross.
May we give good gifts of Truth, blessing, and treasure in Christ this Christmas! His storehouses never run dry.
Grace and peace to you,
Ruth Simons, www.gracelaced.com
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