It’s Christmas time! The spirit of giving is being hyped up via media in the form of boosting commercialism and trade. Sparkling gifts are being packaged up ready for the big day, and those individuals who have the love language ‘gift giving’ are having a field day.
Not going to knock this tradition; the giving and receiving of gifts is a precious and special thing, and this year especially, we can be even more grateful for each and every blessing, whether that is in the form of a gift, or just in the BEING TOGETHER.
Generosity, however, is not limited to being expressed in the giving of presents. It is a vast and overflowing thing, and at its core is the love of God. It is important to note that acts of giving are a result of generosity of heart. If you give a gift to someone, yet are unkind to them, it doesn’t really do them any good.
To be generous is to give of what you have in order to benefit someone else.
So, apart from gift giving, how else can we be generous?
With our time:
One of the greatest things you can do for someone is take some time to listen to them. There are so many out there who are not heard. By listening to them, you are also telling them that what they think and feel is important, that they are valuable members of society, and that what they have to say is worth your time. You are letting them know that their presence in your life is valuable.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. - Proverbs 11:25 (ESV)
With our resources:
Many of us are privileged to have jobs, houses, and cars etc. There is much to be thankful for. Because this is the case, it is so much more important that this privilege is shared with others who may not have the same resources at their disposal. It’s up to you to find ways of being generous with your resources, especially this year when it’s harder to do things like invite people round for dinner or give them a lift in your car. But there are other (more socially-distant) ways to give of what you have; get creative!
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. - 2 Corinthians 9:7 (ESV)
With our words:
Words are a power that we must learn to wield wisely. Now, we all know that often the joys of being together for Christmas go hand-in-hand with some strife. Being in close quarters with family members, trying to cook a 3-course meal with little kids running about, having a never-ending mess to clear up – this is the side of Christmas that really spends a person’s patience. It is very easy to stand in the midst of the chaos and have a verbal meltdown. It is in these moments that generosity has the opportunity to have a ‘glow-up’. Instead of allowing floods of angry words flow, we can choose words that will build others up, not tear them down. This doesn’t mean that you have to live in chaos; it just means you don’t need to react in anger to keep the peace. Give your loved ones the gift of kind and peace-keeping words this Christmas.
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. - 2 Corinthians 9:11 (ESV)
With our strengths/skills:
We all have different abilities and strengths. Why not tap into those strengths this season and pair them up with a dose of generosity?
If you are able bodied, why not go shopping for someone who is elderly, help someone put up their Christmas lights, wash cars or windows?
Are you creative? Make some Christmas cards or decorations for friends and family, write a 2020 Christmas Carol or a cheesy joke.
Have a think about what strengths you have and then use them generously to make someone smile.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. - Psalm 112:9 (ESV)
With the gospel message:
Christmas is a time of joy and togetherness, but there are many out there who are not having a good time. The world is a cold, dark place, and so many individuals are out there who do not know the love and acceptance of Jesus.
Ultimately, our job as believers is to be generous with the story of Jesus. God, Who came humbly to earth all those years ago as a tiny baby – born to die, so that one day, each of us could pray for him to save us.
Christmas is a special time because it highlights the Gospel message. Christian people need to take this opportunity to be generous with the love of Jesus. All the previous examples of being generous culminate into this one thing – we need to give of ourselves, because that’s what He did for us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16 (ESV)
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.