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. 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
As much as we desperately want the holidays to feel “normal” this year, the reality is that for many they just won’t. You might be one of those people. Maybe, for financial reasons, you are worried you can’t afford to give in the same way that you usually do. Maybe you are anticipating celebrating Christmas distanced from your loved ones this year, and it’s forcing you to be creative with how you will give. Maybe it feels like you’ve already given so much of yourself this year and you have very little left. The call to “give more” might seem impossible, hollow, or nice enough for someone who’s just not in your situation this year.
This year, embrace giving and the call to “give more” not as a guilt trip to “give better,” with a subtext of “be a better person you materialistic human,” but an opportunity to lean into the grace giving reflects. After all, giving is not just part of the Christmas story, but part of the Jesus story. We follow a God who gave himself for us, and every time we give, whether that is financially, relationally, or some other way, we have an opportunity to reflect over again on that sacrifice and ultimate source of hope. Maybe start by asking yourself the following questions: Where is giving present in the Christmas story? How did those within the story give? What am I called to give?
Perhaps, as you prepare to give this season, whether in time, presents, or financially, reflect on this abbreviated prayer from Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey:
Let me learn to love you by this
glad practice of giving, taking joy
in every opportunity to invest
in that heavenly economy whose
scale of return will prove to be so out of proportion to all
earthly paradigms as to render them
at last trivial and absurd.
Let me give- neither as begrudging
duty nor from some blasphemous belief
that you might be manipulated- but let
me give in sincerity and cheerfulness,
as a means of making evident the infinite
implications of the gospel. Let me give to
that which moves your heart…
Ah Lord, let that best love
which shapes my life
be evident in this and in all my small acts of giving.
By Jessica Rust