2 Corinthians 9:7 – Every man according to how he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (KJV)
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
Acts 20:35b – Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (KJV)
By their example, my parents and grandparents taught my siblings and me the joy of being cheerful givers at home and in the community. We have great recollections of cheerful giving, not only at Christmas, but all year long. Watching for and meeting needs of others with what we had was always on our minds. We brought home needy children and stray dogs. One Grandma made teddy bears out of old coats to share with mill camp kids. Our other grandmother was an ocean fisherwoman, and she gave packaged frozen salmon and cod to everyone in need. Working together gave great opportunity for talking, laughing, and learning from our elders.
Our giving was based on God's own gift of salvation. As they gave, my parents expressed their gratitude to God, while teaching us to be good stewards of limited resources. My strongest memories of "making do" are wrapped in one of our family celebrations of Christmas. One strand of coloured lights lit the small living room with a warm glow as it rested on the reused worn and crinkled tinsel placed carefully on the branches of a sparse tree. Momma's cherished few family ornaments hung on the tree. We felt blessed to receive our freshly painted bicycle and tricycle that looked like new again. My younger sisters squealed with delight when they saw their restored baby buggy, complete with new little blankets and doll clothes that Momma had made out of remnants of old clothes and blankets. That Christmas, although my siblings and I received a few re-gifted items, we did get an additional present each. The little ones got a new colouring book with crayons, and I received a piece of sheet music that I treasured. Before we snuggled into bed that night in the new flannel pyjamas that Grandma made us, we sang Silent night.
When we revisit our memories of giving, which memory means the most to us? We may ask ourselves: Did we give grudgingly, or cheerfully? Has our attitude toward giving changed? We may find that the most memorable gifts that we have given have come from unselfish and sacrificial hearts of love. What an honour and privilege to give from the love that Christ first gave to us.
Prayer: Dear Father, we tremble at the holy nature of Your Son, Jesus. He gave the greatest gift of all when He sacrificed His life to cleanse the world. May His incredible example of giving to us motivate us to serve others with charitable and cheerful hearts. May we continue to give to others from the love of Jesus all the days of our lives. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "There's A Song In The Air" (Lyrics)