“How to Guide” for Giving at Christmas

My title is actually only partially accurate.  I have very little advice for how to give Christmas gifts to people you love this year.  It is basically:  Make it as meaningful and personal as possible.  And don’t give in to over-doing it.

But, I have a lot of advice for being a giver at Christmas.  Obviously it should happen all throughout the year, but lots of us give out of compassion and faith especially at this time of year to meet real needs in our community and our world.  This verse constantly rings in my head:

…and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. -Isaiah 58:10

So how do you do it?

1.  Be generous.  Stretch yourself.  Americans are the most generous people on planet earth.  Still, sometimes we satisfy our conscience that we “made a difference” by giving pretty small amounts.  Smaller than our cable bill was last month.  I’m all for dropping extra coins and bills in the red bucket and getting a $25 gift for a child in need.  Lots of us doing that together makes a real difference.  But don’t be personally satisfied with that.

2.  Seriously, be generous.  “So, how much Greg?”  I’m glad you asked.  Probably at least twice what you were originally thinking.  Maybe 10 times as much.  Or maybe even 100 times.  What does it feel like to add a few zeros?  Does it feel like it would be a huge sacrifice of yourself to help someone need?  Good.  That’s what I’m looking for.

3.  Seriously, be REALLY Generous.  One rule of thumb that has stretched me (and others I have personally challenged with it) is this: Try to give as much to meeting people’ most basic needs this Christmas as you are to buying presents for everyone on your lists — most of whom already have more than enough.  Wouldn’t that get the spirit of the season right?  A  portable DVD player for our kids (Shhhh…don’t tell them.) will add to our quality of life on long family trips.  But giving to our benevolence/compassion offering at church has a lot more to do with God’s gift to us in Jesus.  It’s challenging to get this right.

4.  Everything else…Invest in individuals and in groups that pass gifts on with low overhead costs.  Pray for God to multiply the impact of your gift.  Go serve along with giving cash (but not instead of giving cash!)  Give to something you personally care about.  For Christ-followers, I think it is important to give to focus giving to places that “give a cup of cold water in Jesus Name.”  Help your children experience all of it with you — the sacrifice and the joy.

You can probably add a lot to number 4…feel free to in the comments section if you want. But make sure you go back and read 1, 2, 3 again also.

~ by Greg Lee on December 16, 2010.

4 Responses to ““How to Guide” for Giving at Christmas”

  1. I love it Greg. My thinking pulls to missions and missionary work, because that is what I am passionate about. Think about all the missionaries on the field who don’t have the choices, technology, or food everyone does in America? Or the Africans or Asians or whoever the missionaries are ministering to who don’t have healthy lives or money to buy things they want/need who lacks physically and spiritually.

  2. And some employers still match gifts. Home Depot matches my gifts to World Vision. WV is getting twice as much from me that way.

  3. Tell ya what…you give ME the money and I’ll pass it on. Then they will. Charissa has made a gift that way. Of course, I also get the tax deduction :+)

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