Luke 11:41 – Purity is best demonstrated by generosity. (TLB)
Christmas is creeping up upon me again. Each year it seems to come around even more quickly than the year before, and every year, I seek to remember and pray about the best way to honour the King of kings who was born in a manger so long ago that we might be reborn into eternal life.
This year as I was reading a daily Bible selection from the Canadian Bible Society, the passage from which today's Scripture is taken revealed my goal to honour Christ this Christmas season.
Jesus was addressing the Pharisees, who prided themselves on their religious correctness, making sure that they tithed on even the smallest portion of their income. Yet, Jesus points out to them that amidst it all, they had completely forgotten about justice and the love of God. The Pharisees gave their money and their produce as required, but they withheld their love and generosity towards their neighbour. They saw themselves as better than others and were not willing to love or be generous towards anyone but themselves. So, though they appeared pure on the outside because of their religious practices, Jesus states, "Inside you are still dirty — full of greed and wickedness." (Luke 11:39 TLB)
Religious practices can be good, but only if they demonstrate the love of God toward others. Purity — the love of Christ within us — is best demonstrated by generosity of spirit toward others, especially those who are different from us. After all, what profit is it to us if we love only those with whom we agree and who treat us as we would like?
So this Christmas, I am asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the best ways to be generous to others as I seek to honour Christ. I am praying for a generosity of spirit in the way that I act and speak and give presents to those around me. They may or may not be gifts bought with money. In fact, I expect that the majority of the Christmas gifts that He will call upon me to give will be gifts of time, friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, and acceptance towards people that I might normally never even consider blessing with a gift during the Christmas season.
What about you? How will you seek to honour and glorify Christ this Christmas season: with monetary gifts for the sake of giving, or with the pure gifts of generosity straight from the heart of Christ within you?
The choice is ours.
Prayer: Father God, thank You so much for the gift of Christmas — the gift of Christ. May our hearts and minds and wills be open to purity that is best demonstrated through Your kind of generosity — the kind of generosity that did not withhold Your Son from us on that very first Christmas day. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.
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