Gifts that bless

Paul tells us that Christ Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35. But sometimes it doesn't seem that way. Especially in the midst of Christmas holiday hustle and bustle, we may not feel so much blessed as frustrated.

What can we do about a burdened rather than blessed sense of giving? Perhaps there is a need for a change in our thought about Christmas. And a need to learn just what gifts really bless. We may have seen the bumper sticker on automobiles, "Put Christ back in Christmas." And perhaps most of us would say, Of course. But how do we do it? A good beginning is to remember that the Christ-spirit is the real essence of Christmas giving. This spirit is not just for one calendar day; it is for every day. Giving with the Christ-spirit means, among other things, recognizing the true source of all gifts. "Every good gift and every perfect gift," says the familiar verse from James, "is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17. And The New English Bible translates the opening words of the same verse, "All good giving, every perfect gift, comes from above ..."

Does that mean we don't have any responsibility for gift giving? No. It means that in order to carry out our good giving we need to look to God as the one source of all good. Man, God's likeness, includes all good by reflection. But we need to seek from Him each day what we can give and how we can give it, and so awake to our completeness as man.

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Making room in the inn
December 17, 1984

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