This December, we've been pushing back against the tidal wave of holiday stress & commercialism… and learning to practice the 4 tennants of the Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully…. Spend Less….Give More... and Love All. This week, we're focusing on how to GIVE MORE in this season of gifting.
So, how exactly do you give more while also spending less? Remember: God’s answer for the world’s problems has never been material things. In fact, at CHristmas, God gave us the ultimate gift: His son Jesus! This was the most personal and priceless gift anyone could ever give. At the heart of it, God demonstrates for us that giving at Christmas should be all about giving more relationally.
See, at Christmas we celebrate Jesus the baby boy born in a manger – but in John 1:1-14, we learn that’s not where Jesus identity ends. He’s the Creator of the Universe who came down to Earth to make his dwelling place among us… to become ONE OF US! Talk about a relational gift...
The incarnation of Jesus show us, in very practical terms, what it means to give relationally. See, the gift of Jesus was:
In Luke 2:11, we read the words “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Yes, God came for the whole world – but he also came for you, personally. Now, to make this lesson practical, relational giving means you slow down and pay attention to the other person. You think about who they are and what they care about – and then you make your gift personal.
God's gift of Jesus in the manger is also a gift of presence. In Matthew 1:23, the words from the prophet Isaiah say "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanual (Which means “God with us")... Here, we learn that the Incarnation is when God broke through and gave us his presence in a flesh-and-blood way. For thousands of years, God was invisible –the Jewish people knew his name, but not his face. Then, when Jesus came, suddenly God had a face… a voice… a mother…he lived with real people! This Christmas, is there someone who craves your presence? What would happen if you gave someone special in your life just the act of showing up and spending time with them?
Last but certainly not least, we know God’s gift of Jesus cost Him everything. Jesus wasn’t just born into existence on Christmas morning. In fact, the book of John says God the son was in loving union with His Father from all eternity. So, when Jesus left his Father’s side to be with us, He left the splendor and majesty of Heaven to humbly enter human history as a helpless baby.
The truth is, God's gift gets even priceier later in the New Testament of the Bible. Phlippians 2:6-8 tells us that Jesus “being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!" Guys, giving relationally wasn't just pricey... it cost Jesus everything. Jesus was born in a cradle and died on a Cross to give you the Gift of Eternal Life - now, that is the price of love.
This holiday season, know that love doesn’t always mean spending more money – it’s about making a meaningful sacrifice. Will you sacrifice your time, effort and creativity to bless your family and friends with a relational gift? Don’t be overwhelmed… just start with one person this year! Give relationally and resist the temptation to buy whatever is quick and easy or on-sale.
Let’s re-claim the true heart of the original Advent this season... and discover deep moments of connection with family and friends that you’ll remember for years to come!