As one who has experienced Christmas as a child, parent and now the grandfather of sixteen, my Christmas experiences have been morphing as I have grown older and it has become easy to become jaded by the worldly nature of Christmas celebrations.
It is the time of the year that the focus is shifted from the day to day activities that are the normal drivers of our thoughts and actions to what we are to give to the people in our lives. Like it or not it is the “season of giving” and you can be sure there are many who want you to give.
Charitable giving goes up significantly during the “season of giving.” In the last three months of the year a total of 34 percent of charitable giving occurs and, as stated by Steve MacLaughlin the director of product management for Blackbaud, “The number one reason people give to charity is that they're asked,” and ask they will.
With the “season of giving” arrives the season of getters. They are stationed at the entrance of every store. They are at your workplace. They arrive in snail-mail and email and even come knocking on your door seeking a gift from you during the “season of giving”.
The Christmas season is filled with giving. Much of the giving is compulsory, some out of obligation and very little by personal desire. Many people are burdened by the giving season; spending money they do not have and running up credit cards to the max. Going to or hosting gatherings for the exchange of gifts places stress on time management. Shopping, wrapping gifts and the season's overwhelming food preparations are just a few of the added pressures of the season.
The giving season for some becomes the taking season. Some have expectations of receiving their “heart’s desire” at the expense of others. Children who demand the latest technology, toys and even automobiles. The “getters” of the season make Christmas lists and post them on social media;leaving their lists in places you must look and even handing them to you; often-times giving you the feeling of being extorted. The “getters” of Christmas are always seeking to take advantage of the season of giving.
Let me redirect your thoughts from the “getters” and the “givers” of the “season of giving” and help take the “jade” off your thoughts for the next few days before the “season of giving” passes. Refocus your thoughts on what was the catalyst of the “season of giving”. The catalyst for the “season of giving” was who God is and what God has done for you.
God’s character is revealed by His desire to give tangible gifts to His creation but the purpose of His divine nature is revealed by the intangible gifts that He freely gifts to the people who acknowledge and delight in His generosity of spiritual revelation of Himself. There is no greater demonstration that God imposes, no limit to His divine nature to disinvest Himself of His personal possessions than when He endorsed the selfless act of Jesus when He, “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil 2:8)
Regardless of if you or how you acknowledge Christmas, this is the time we can change, not others, but our own self because of the birth of Christ. Not because He was born on Christmas day but because He was not… because He, Jesus, was born and became the sacrifice for our atonement and made peace for us with a Holy God who was angry with us, “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psa 7:11)
This “season of giving” do not get bogged down in the weeds of the worldly activities. Remember it was God’s gift that gave us this hope, “look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
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