Prepare to Give
“In the Bleak Midwinter” sung by Sarah McLachlan
Giving is often part of Christmas. We exchange gifts with family and friends, acknowledging their importance to us. God gave humanity the ultimate gift, knowing we could never repay Him. In accepting this treasure, we respond with grateful hearts by giving our time and money to those who will not reciprocate. In so doing, we are blessed.
Dear Lord, just as you gave the greatest gift of all to the world, knowing that not everyone would value the sacrifice, we look for ways to reach out to others during this season. Teach us the joy of giving from a grateful heart that does not expect to be rewarded.
“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4
It was Christmas day and we were eager to pack our three children in the car and drive across the mountains to celebrate Christmas with our family in Alberta. Before we left, I noticed the remains of our Scandinavian supper from the night before filling the fridge. I planned to pack it in a cooler and take it with us. Just as we were getting ready to leave, my husband asked if I would be willing to visit a ninety year old Danish widower with our family. I saw that as an opportunity to share our feast with someone who would be eating soup alone in his house. Before heading off on the long drive to the farm, we stopped by his house, bringing him a hot meal and Scandinavian pastries. We sang carols and our children did the actions to “Away In a Manger”. Our hearts were warmed by this old man’s response to our gesture. He gave us far more than we gave him.
Several years later we left the Christmas Eve service at the church and took the family to the hospital to visit an elderly woman from our congregation. By this time our four children could sing in four part harmony. The room was dark and quiet as we entered, with only a night light on behind her bed. The lights of the town shone through the window as we sang our Christmas songs, acapella, to the audience of one. What a thrill.
Over the years we have donated money to charities and given hundreds of gifts, none better received than these gifts of time. We received much more than we gave; the warmth of those memories has lasted over thirty years.
Points to Ponder
- What are the ways we show our gratitude to God in our giving during this season? Consider the gift of time or a visit to someone who would otherwise be alone. What would it take to make that happen?
- Sacrificial giving is from the heart. When have you given sacrificially? How did that make you feel?
O Lord help us to look for ways to share your love with those who cannot give us anything in return. Reveal opportunities for us to give sacrificially of our time, talents and gifts, knowing that in giving to “the least of these”, we are giving to you.