Note: This is the third in a series of posts inspired by the Advent Conspiracy movement and the book, Advent Conspiracy, by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay and Greg Holder.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
What is the most memorable gift you’ve ever received? Chances are, it probably wasn’t the most expensive one. It was probably the one that came from someone’s heart.
If you’re like most people, the most memorable gifts are the most meaningful ones. The ones that speak volumes about a relationship.
God’s answer for the world’s problems has never been more “stuff.” It’s never been about money or power or status. It’s never even been about good stuff like health or food or shelter. Or prosperity.
God’s answer is the gift of a relationship. It’s the gift of himself.
Giving at Christmastime is a great way to express our love for Jesus and his love for us. It’s a great way to express our love for each other. And when we give of ourselves in meaningful ways, in some small way that still expresses the beauty and power of God giving himself to us.
That’s how we can give more at Christmas while still spending less. Instead of costing more money, what it costs is our time and our energy. Sure, that can be more difficult than just picking out a sweater or a cheese log or a gift certificate. But we have to remember that the gifts we give are not about us…about what we spend or how easy it is to pick out. The gift is always about the other.
Jesus paid attention to people. He listened to them. He noticed. In essence, he said, “you are important to me. I want to know you.”
Giving to each other out of relationship says the same thing. It says, “you are too important to me for me to waste money on a meaningless gift. I want to give a gift that helps me know you better.”
Think of how powerful a gift that is. And think about the money it can save.
Then think about how that money you save can help other people in the world. Or right here in your community. People you may not even know. But people you love because God loves them.
Whether you choose to give to people in Nicaragua, or Liberia, or in your hometown, your gift says to them, “You are important to God, so you are important to me. I want you to know that God loves you. And he’s using me to show that love.”
That is what it means to Give More. And that is how Christmas can still change the world.