Summary: Christmas will be different when our giving is different; relational, personal, and sacrificial.
FOUR WORDS THAT COULD CHANGE YOUR CHRISTMAS: GIVE
Big Idea: Christmas will be different when our giving is different; relational, personal, and sacrificial.
There is something about the word generosity that gets everyone’s attention. Even the Scroogiest amongst us are touched when we see authentic generosity. It touches us deep because it shows the best of humanity and as a people of faith it reflects the very character of God.
Generosity is a term that, when used properly, should define Christmas. It certainly defines God’s gift of His son. It is a time for us to also be generous. We do not have to be reincarnations of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Speaking of Scrooge – would you watch this clip from “A Christmas Carol”? It is the interaction between Scrooge and The Ghost of Christmas Present. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LL-MxDFotw
Last week we talked about overreaching. We talked about hyper-consumerism, debt and frenzy. But this week we need to strike a holy balance to pushing back by talking about THE HOW, WHY, AND WHAT OF GIVING AT CHRISTMAS.
You see, the third word that will give you the Christmas you’ve always longed for is: GIVE.
I want to read two passages to you that I think help us grasp the HOW, WHY, AND WHAT OF GIVING AT CHRISTMAS.
JOHN 1:1-3, 14 (KJV)
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
MATTHEW 2:1-11 (NIV)
1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’” 7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
At first glance you may not see much similarity between these two passages but I want to suggest that together they give us a very clear indication of the HOW, WHY, AND WHAT OF GIVING AT CHRISTMAS.
I think both of these passages help us grasp how we can, this Christmas, not be Scrooges. We can be “pro-gift giving” this Christmas. We can reflect and give as God gave us His “indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
LET ME OFFER THREE GUIDES TO HELP US WITH THE HOW, WHY, AND WHAT OF GIVING AT CHRISTMAS.
1) YOUR GIVING SHOULD INCLUDE “THE LEAST OF THESE”
Think back with me to the video clip from “A Christmas Carol.”
Did you catch the gist of it? The ghost was showing Scrooge two emaciated children named “Want” and “Ignorance.” They represented “the least of these”; those that Scrooge had long excused, judged and ignored. He said things like,
• “They should get a job”
• “They should get a good education and pull themselves up by their own boot straps.”
• “We have orphanages for those kind.”
• “Its their own fault.”
These, and similar sayings, excuse Scrooge from any responsibility. But really what it did was heap responsibility on him. His very words were used in judgment of him.