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The Season of Giving

Staff Member
The Season of Giving - December 16, 2005

There are football-field-sized lines unique to the Christmas shopping season. Have you ever gotten stuck in one of those Christmas mosh-pit-type situations? It's a little like being in a giant blender getting ready to become part of a huge shopper smoothie. Last time I was just about to be pureed, I spotted two shoppers smashed face-to-face. One said, "Did you know you're breathing on me?" In a lovely display of holiday spirit, the other answered, "Well, excuse me for being a mammal."

While you might not find a lot of Christmas spirit in the holiday shopping blender, most humanoid mammals do think about giving during the holiday season, like no other time of year. We may run into an occasional Grinch and a few scattered Scrooges, but on the average, folks are in the giving spirit.
I think it must please the Lord when we honor His birthday with generous giving. A mature believer is one who gives benevolently and cheerfully. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

"Exchanging" gifts is the Christmas norm. Real "giving" happens when we're not exchanging or trading gifts, but giving to someone who can't give back. And we're instructed not to give out of guilt or because someone makes us feel like we have to, but with careful thought and with joyful exuberance.
Giving gifts to everyone else and forgetting the One with the birthday would make for a warped celebration. May I issue a challenge to make the biggest gift this year to Jesus? It's His birthday! Maybe He'll lead you to make the gift to your church. Maybe He'll lead you to give in the form of a missions offering, a special anonymous gift to someone or an organization that furthers His kingdom. Maybe it will be a gift of time or service. Maybe all of the above! It's a great feeling!

While it really is a nice feeling, our motivation should be wrapped up in more than just the giving tingle. It should certainly be about more than just a couple of last-minute tax write-offs. Real gifts come from the heart.
So let Him have your heart this Christmas. Let Him have everything you have and everything you are--every breath your breathe.
And a blessed Christmas to all my fellow mammals!

Rhonda Rhea writes for dozens of Christian publications and speaks at conferences and events across the country. You can find her newest books, "Soup for the Soul-Tastes Just Like Chicken", and "Amusing Grace", at your local Christian bookstore. "Who Put the Cat in the Fridge-Serving Up Hope and Hilarity Family Style", will be available in March. Rhonda's husband, Richie Rhea, is a pastor in Troy, Missouri. You can reach them through her Web site at: www.rhondarhea.net
"Let Him have everything you have and everything you are--every breath your breathe." Amen!

And if you have no gift to give...offer the gift of His love...give a genuine smile to the disgruntled harried passerby...hold a door open ...help that elderly lady put her parcels in her car...speak a kind word to a mom who`s dealing with a fussy child.

Ever stand back in a mall and watch the sea of faces go by during the chistmas season? You`ll see a lot of tired, worried, frazzled expressions.
But these are so much more than that, these are opportunity to let HIS light shine. If He is within you, let your face, your words, and your actions show it :)
I moved a cart for a woman the other day, so she could back her car into a parking space...and her reaction amazed me! She rolled down her window and said "that was so nice of you, I hope you have a very very merry christmas!"
I replied..."God bless you with a merry christmas too". :) And as I walked away, I whispered a prayer for her, a stranger, and never likely to meet again, but angels stood to attention, when I asked for God to touch
her life, and that little opportunity was the highlight of my day!

I have determined to never go shopping without first saying a prayer. Lord if theres someone who needs a little help along the way today, let them cross my path, and I`ll do my best to show them YOU! I have no big momentous tales to tell from that, but little is much when God is in it! What God WILL do with a kind word, a helping hand, whispered prayer...eternity will tell the story! Glory to God!

Which reminds me...my eldest son walked into a public washroom in a fast food restaurant awhile back, and when he went to dry his hands, on top of the dryer lay a little scrap of paper with an encouraging scripture verse written on it. Maybe the person who left it, did not find it easy to talk, but that little message deeply touched my son that day. So you see, God will use even the littlest offerings to Him.

Isa 55:10 "Rain and snow fall from the sky. But they don't return without watering the earth that produces seeds to plant and grain to eat. That's how it is with my words. They don't return to me without doing everything I send them to do." Glory! amen.

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