Each Christmas I ask my husband, Terry, what he wants for Christmas. “Give me a list,” I instruct. He asks the same of me.
We learn to make wish lists as children when our parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles seek guidance in what type of present to put under the tree. As a child I spent a lot of time circling all the things I wanted that were found in the catalogs that arrived by mail.
This year, instead of pouring over a catalog looking for something we want, Terry, and I have been looking for gifts to give in a catalog published by Samaritan’s Purse. These aren’t your usual gifts.
You can purchase the gift of sight by helping to fund cataract surgery. Buy a filter so families can remove impurities from the contaminated water they haul into their homes from ponds and streams. Even help rebuild or repair houses for families in Iraq and other countries that have had communities destroyed by war.
Terry wants to buy a goat to give to a family in Niger or South Sudan. Dairy goats provide nourishing milk to drink as well as sell for income. I am intrigued by the honeybees which provide a way for a family in Iraq, Kenya, or Ethiopia to earn an income as beekeepers. People receive a hive, harvesting equipment and other supplies. These gifts include training.
Why does giving honeybees and goats bring such great joy? Our Father gives generously and following in His footsteps brings pleasure. These gifts will not only provide milk and honey they will reveal the goodness and kindness of God to those who receive them. Providing insight into the loving God we serve, to people who do not know Him, brings great joy.
Tony Evans in his Bible commentary explains that we give with joy, a glad heart, in response to the goodness of God. “When you know that God is your source, you can be cheerful in giving since you understand there would be no possibility of giving if he hadn’t given to you first. ‘The earth and everything in it… belong to the Lord’ (Psalm 24:1).”
He explains further that when we sow generously, we reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6). What do we reap? God’s blessing which is “the God-given capacity to experience, enjoy, and extend the goodness and favor of God in your life.”1
Joy at Christmas is infectious. And now I know why. It is the God-given capacity to extend the goodness and favor we experience in our relationship with Him to others. And as others experience His goodness, they also demonstrate it to others. That’s the snowball effect.
Gift giving at Christmas has become tarnished over the years. We talk about toys that are forgotten within a few weeks, regifting all the presents we don’t appreciate, and the struggles to find a gift for the person who ‘has everything.’ Yet when it is an outflow of the goodness and favor we have experienced and our gifts are a desire to extend this blessing it is an activity that brings great joy.
Join the Conversation:
1-Does gift giving at Christmas make you stressed or joyful? Explain why?
2-How has your view of gift giving changed after reading this short article?
1-The Tony Evans Bible Commentary published by Holman Reference Nashville, Tennessee. Page 1191, commentary on 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.