You know those moments where you realize that the thing you’ve been planning for/thinking about/working on is now…over? It is always weird to be in those moments. I find myself with this “what next” kind of mentality that creeps in when “life meets event.” The Christmas season does that for me. That moment when you realize that all of the parties are over, all of the presents are unwrapped, and now it’s just Saturday again. The moment when you look around your house and all you can think about when you see a reindeer or a snowman decoration is an old Sean Penn/Susan Sarandon film. The moment when you realize it’s just you, your coffee, and the Lord. That’s nice.
I come from a family that has always given gifts at Christmas. My parents and my in-laws are so generous during the holidays with their gifts, and even more generous throughout the year with their time and support. When I watch the joy on their faces as my boys open their presents, they find such genuine joy in producing joy. That’s not an accident. God built inside of us an innate giving spirit. Even in secular surveys, giving is shown to increase happiness and contentment. It is the giving of gifts that, to many, defines Christmas. I would argue that Bible supports this as well, though perhaps a shade differently.
My absolute favorite gift this year, and every year, is the gift that God gave me: Hope. It is hope that makes the nightly news bearable. It is hope that makes our relationships worth pursuing. It is hope that keeps us sane. It is Jesus who brings hope. And this hope is designed to be the starter fluid of our heart for the giving of gifts. The book of Romans gives a run-down of so many of the gifts that God has given to individuals, but with one caveat – give your gifts to others! Romans 12:3-8 says,
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Each of you has a gift. You, reading these words right now, have a gift that God has given to you that you may be a blessing to others for HIS glory. I can’t even begin to express in words how much that gift never wears out. It never gets old. The only question that arises out of your gift is not with respect to its function, but whether or not it’s dusty. Just because the cover of a Bible is dusty doesn’t make it’s Word less true, and so too with the gifts that God gives you. Dust them off! Be a giver of what God has already freely given! And then, at the end of the day, lie down, close your eyes, and hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master,” (Matthew 25:23).
5th-8th Grade Principal
Evansville Christian School