As you may have noticed, it’s nearly Christmas. We are all out there, buying presents for one another. Getting excited by the upcoming festivities. Many of us are full of joy at the anticipation of the celebration of Jesus coming.
I spoke to my sister recently about presents, discussing what each of us wanted for Christmas and our plans for the day. She mentioned to me how excited I got about presents, and how in the past – once in particular, when we didn’t open presents till 9pm (yes, really) – I have moaned about when we are going to open presents.
Initially I dismissed it and smiled. But as I reflected on the comment the smile faded.
I looked at myself, and realised I took more pleasure out of receiving than giving.
And I felt a deep sense of disgust.
The more I examined myself, the more I saw this principle applied to more than just Christmas. In using all of my talents and gifts, it had merely been about my own benefit. Not the benefit of others.
I loved myself more than others.
Jesus always took more pleasure from giving than receiving. Never thinking of Himself. He sought out opportunities to love and bless others.
And He gave His body, His soul, His life, for me. When I had done nothing to deserve it.
Jesus gave us the ultimate gift. Himself.
This is what Christmas is about. Jesus as a gift to us. Given by a generous God.
It’s time I stopped taking so much joy in receiving. I want to be someone who takes more joy in giving. I want to be the kind of person who generously gives away without asking for or expecting anything in return.
I want my actions to show I’m interested in serving. In giving. In being generous.
Which includes my talents.
It’s easy to believe the myth our abilities, gifts or callings are about us. It’s a myth constantly perpetuated throughout our culture. But our talents weren’t given for our benefit. They were given only for us to give them away.
And when we use them for good, we show people a glimpse of the divine.
But when we give any kind of gift, we must surrender the outcome. Allow God to do what He wishes with what we give. And to use our talents as He chooses. (You can tweet that here)
Like my writing. If I wrote only for myself, or to impress people – with selfish motives – my writing would suffer. It wouldn’t be authentic. It wouldn’t be true.
It would be false. And everyone would know
It’s happened in the past. And only changed when I realised it wasn’t about me. It’s about giving what I have away, and surrendering the outcome. If my writing only blesses one or one million, either way I have no reason to complain.
But it all comes down to having a generous heart. A giving spirit.
And too often, and too easily, we can make it about ourselves.
So I made a decision. This Christmas, I would not concern myself with what presents others were giving me. But take more joy from giving gifts to others. However they receive those gifts.
And choose to remember again my talents, my gifts, are not my own.
They have been given only for me to give away.
To gain an insight into the joy God felt giving us the greatest gift of all.
Do you take more joy in giving than receiving?
Do you consider your talents your own, for your benefit?
How can you be more generous this Christmas?
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