The Joy of Giving

The Joy of Giving What is your favorite part of Christmas? Is it the great music? Putting up the tree and the rest of the Christmas decorations? Perhaps you really enjoy a great Christmas concert or play.

Or maybe you are more excited about all the parties or about getting together with family and friends. And what about that favorite dish that you only get during the holiday season?

But I think if we are honest, we all look forward to the gift exchanges that happen during this time of the year. I remember as a child I could not wait for Christmas morning to see what was under the tree for me. When I was 12 years old, I really wanted a new 10-speed bike.

My parents had told me they did not think it would be possible and I was resigned to that fact. However, much to my great surprise and delight, on Christmas morning there was this beautiful red bike waiting for me. It is still one of my favorite memories from Christmas.

The exchanging of gifts is a wonderful tradition and I enjoy it greatly, although the focus over the years has changed. Even though I enjoy receiving gifts, I really enjoy giving gifts more. I love to see the expression on the face of the recipient especially if I managed to really surprise them (in a pleasant way) with the gift.

I have nieces and nephews that are between 3 and 10 years old, and one of the highlights is always seeing their reaction to what they receive Christmas morning. Experiencing their joy is truly special to me.

It is quite possible that after all of these years, I am finally beginning to understand what Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). When I think about the reasons for that great truth, here is what comes to my mind:

  • When we give, we are thinking about someone else rather than ourselves.
  • When we give, we are sharing from what we have instead of adding to what we already possess.
  • When we give, we become imitators of God, who is the Great Gift Giver.

So let me encourage you to make giving a priority in your monthly budget. Even if things are tight, you can always give something. And if you are in great financial shape, think not only of gifts for friends and family, but also consider charitable donations.

This time of the year the needs are great and so is the opportunity to help. There are many worthy non-profit organizations helping those in need here and across the world. If you can, get involved today. Trust me, the joy of giving will make this season even more special for you.

1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,
2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord,
4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,
5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NASB)