The Christmas season is upon us! For some, it's the best time of year. For others, it can be an especially difficult time. For some it brings joy and for some it brings pain. For some it brings excitement and for others anxiety. If personally struggle with this time of year and often wish to skip over to the new year right after Thanksgiving. Since I'm not able to do that...yet...I've resolved myself to "suck it up" and attempt to empathize with the joy of others. I know, I know, I'm a "Scrooge" or "Grinch" or whatever, but hang with me here.
The one thing I do like about this season is the "giving" spirit that comes out of people, but ironically it also the thing I despise most. Giving has become skewed in our culture and many others, but I believe we can get beyond the consumeristic nature for which this season has become synonymous.
As a disciple of Jesus, part of our Holy Spirit-driven nature is that of giving. The Christmas story is solely about the giving, compassionate nature of God coming to be with the love-outpouring manifestation of himself that is humankind. Giving is a natural outpouring of love for the other, and we, as images of God on this earth, reflect that same nature. Our issue is that the broken part of ourselves seeps into how we express our giving nature. Our motives get messed up.
We often miss the opportunities to do something good, because we are too focused on doing something "great." We live in a culture that glorifies the "great" things, that impact large numbers of people, or big organizations that are making an impact with refugees, human trafficking, or world hunger. We hear less about the average person that lives a life, giving of their time and resources to good things on a daily basis. May we be people that live lives driven by a nature of giving. May we focus not on the thing that makes us great, but that which is simply life-giving and good.