As the silly season known as the pre-Christmas rush descends, it’s worth thinking about how we can embody the spirit of generosity of the season in our own lives.
For those of us in employment and with stable families, we are already blessed with riches. But sometimes we need to take stock and remember just how lucky we are. There are so many in our community who will struggle with the demands and expectations of a season which is supposed to bring joy and goodwill to all.
Charles Dickens’ famous Christmas book, A Christmas Carol is one of my annual Christmas traditions—I read it every year, even though I could quote much of it from memory. But what I love about it is its tale of redemption, how one grumpy, mean-spirited old man could transform into a fount of generosity and joy, determined to embrace Christmas and use his wealth to bring Christmas joy to those less fortunate.
At the end of the novel, Tiny Tim, the young disabled boy to whom Scrooge becomes a second father, sums up the real message of Christmas in five simple words—“God bless us, every one!”
Therein lies the true meaning for Christians, that we have all been blessed at Christmas with God’s gift of his only son, born in poverty to a single mother with a loving partner but without a home when her time comes to give birth to the baby who will grow up to be the saviour of the world.
In Australia in 2017, it’s up to those of us who are blessed, to give from our hearts and wallets so that our less fortunate brothers and sisters can share in the wonder of the Christmas season.
The idea of joyful giving stretches back to the days of the Old Testament in the Bible, when our forefathers were encouraged to consider others as a reflection of how God has blessed us.
“You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your wine press; as the Lord your God has blessed you, you shall give to him.” (Deuteronomy chapter 15, verse 14)
The New Testament follows on from this with some excellent seasonal advice—“In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts, chapter 20, verse 35).
And what happens when you do give to someone in need, is that there is the bonus feel-good benefit for you, that you have made someone else’s life better. No wonder we read that it is more blessed to give than receive, because there is no better feeling for those of us who lead comfortable lives than to give so that others may share in our good fortune.
If this is resonating with you, may I suggest that you contribute what you can to two very special Salvo Christmas programs?
To provide a specific gift like a cuppa and a chat for a lonely soul with a Salvo officer, or a special Christmas hamper for a family, visit www.salvationarmy.org.au/wishes.
If like me, food is one of the big joys of your life, check out www.100thousandmeals.org.au, where you can help provide Christmas dinner for people who otherwise won’t get one.
I guarantee that whichever campaign attracts your heart, you will indeed feel blessed for giving.