GIVE MORE (Dale Neuman)
Like a lot of men, the thought of gearing up for the Christmas season inevitably brings to mind the daunting task of getting gifts for everyone. The “I can’t think of what to get them” thought comes rushing to the forefront instead of “Yay! I have the opportunity to bless a lot of loved ones.” I’m not naturally a gift giver and the thought of thinking, deciding, planning, and seeking out gifts for multiple persons can seem overwhelming. Why is that? Why doesn’t the joy of the receiver make it all worthwhile?
Several years ago our family started a new tradition. It’s called Love Gifts. Every year instead of spending a lot of money on filling each other’s stockings, we instead stuff them with low or no cost expressions of our love to each other. Although they often include an edible treat or something small and practical like flavoured toothpaste, the stockings mostly contain paper notes and drawings. Some notes contain messages of affirmation and encouragement, while others consist of commitments to do a chore for the other, to spend some quality time at his/her favorite activity, or an invitation for a date. I personally have found these gifts to be the most fun to give, and the most moving to receive because they come from the heart, from the person’s very own expression of how they feel and how they wish to express it. For me these gifts are some of the truest expressions of Christmas I can give because they are from me and not a store.
Although I still do not relish the thought of the Christmas gift hunt, I now get really excited by the “from me” Love Gifts every year.
Challenge (by Devon Wagler)
I don’t think this was ever meant to be taken as a hard rule. It’s easy to read this passage and think, ‘so people give money and end up poor, and people who don’t give often end up wealthy, so what’s the difference?’ Well, that’s almost the point, isn’t it? People who give generously may end up poor, or they may end up wealthy. But they gain so much more by giving generously. People who don’t give may end up poor or wealthy, but in the end what else do they have?
Giving more doesn’t mean supporting every charity that’s out there. Many people decide to support one or two charities and make a significant impact in that area. We also need to remember that God created giving to be something not only for the benefit of the receiver, but also for the benefit of the giver. Think about how this could be possible in your life.