The Christmas season seems to be filled with a quest for intentional generosity...and I think this can be a good thing. Yes I've heard the frustrations regarding the pursuit of materialism (which I share), but the desire to be kind and generous, although it has its' flaws, I believe is at least somewhat filled with good intentions.
We have a tradition in our family to be intentionally generous to another family during this Christmas season instead of showering ourselves with more stuff we don't need. What I'm learning more and more about is how this spirit of generosity needs to permeate my life beyond this Christmas season. Generosity needs to be a family value; something that we live out on a daily moment by moment basis. Generosity can play a role in purchasing someone's coffee, donating some time to help someone out of the ditch, and/or giving up clothes that we do not need in order to give to those who are in need.
I stumbled upon this verse from Proverbs that spoke to me: "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God" (Prov. 14:31).
Singer/songwriter Brooke Fraser summed up this thought in her song "Albertine." She penned the lyric, "now that I have seen I am responsible, faith without deeds is dead." As followers of Christ, as believers who walk in faith and call ourselves Christians, we have a responsibility to let generosity overflow out of our lives and into the lives of others.
There is an old hymn that comes to mind "freely, freely you have received, freely, freely give." Christmas provides us with the opportunity not only to slow down and enjoy family, food and fun, but also to re-prioritize our lives before heading into a New Year. Christmas is the symbol of the gift that we have been given that keeps on giving. The "spirit" of Christmas is about learning to be generous with our lives (time, talents & resources). As we journey through this season for yet another year, my hope and prayer is that each of us would be compelled to give to others in a manner that speaks of God's generosity. Let us be known for our compassion towards the poor and our pursuit of justice through generosity!!