“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”- Romans 8:32
The Christmas season reminds us of the miracle of Christ’s Birth, the entry of the perfect gift of light and life, to a fallen, broken, and dark world. As we grow older (age) and increase in our faith walk (spiritual maturity), the meaning and meaningfulness of Christmas also changes in terms of our focus and delight. As a child, what tends to matter most are the GIFTS. We can become like the seagulls in the movie, Finding Nemo, who continually cry out, “Mine, mine, mine!” I know that I was guilty of scoping out what was under the tree and taking inventory of how many gifts each sibling was receiving. I sure could have used Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:11 back then, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I responded like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
Now as a full-fledged adult (in late 40’s) and father of four beautiful kids, one of the greatest joys of Christmas is GIVING GIFTS. Again, the Bible truth and Kingdom Way has it spot on, when Paul says in Acts 20:35, “…remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I believe that having a GIVING HEART is one of the TRUE MARKS of being a follower of Jesus. Christmas joy moves far beyond the gifts solely provided to loved ones. My heart is filled by the manner which our church has given over this Christmas season: Almost 150 shoebox gifts have been delivered to boys and girls in the Philippines and Mongolia (Operation Christmas Child); our annual Wonderland event blessed dozens of families in our community with photos, personalized ornaments, games and prizes; and many have also made donations to the Christmas Shoppe Toy Drive (as over 530 underprivileged families were able to shop for free) and My Refuge House Ornament Tree (to help young women who have been the victim of human trafficking/sexual exploitation).
In this season of giving, I want to point you to one more, one last opportunity this Christmas, in 2019, for this decade (I know that is a bit dramatic). On Sunday, December 29 we are having a “Bring It” Service (at 9 and 10:45 am). As we celebrate God’s goodness and seal all He has done this year, we will end the service by BRINGING A GIFT. This special “Bring It” offering is an opportunity for you to personally thank the Lord for His abundant love and provision. The gifts received will be used to cover many of the Christmas events our church offered, to partner with other groups in sharing the gospel, and to provide seed for some new things God is calling us to in 2020. As you prepare for this special day and your personal gift, I would ask you to do four things:
1) PRAY about what you are to give.
2) Make it BIG! I know that is a pretty bold, risky statement. Please hear my heart on this one. This is not about a certain dollar amount (pray…see #1) or matching what someone else is doing, but this a gift to the Lord that communicate He is the best and deserves your best. Like the wise men did, give to Jesus from your treasures, no matter how much you have (Matthew 2:11).
3) Give with JOY. Choose to give to the Lord. Choose to trust Him with your finances. Choose to honor Him beyond just with your words. Let’s do it with a willing and worshipful heart (2 Corinthians 9:7).
4) BRING your gift on the 29th. I am sure there are several who would desire to participate, but your holiday calendar has you away that Sunday. You can also offer a “Bring It” gift by mail (church address) or online (our website- tofoursquare.org).
“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”- 2 Corinthians 8:7