The relationship of Christmas with gift-giving may be bemoaned by many, but the connection is a biblical one. I am not referring to the crazed run through the mall in late December or the White Elephant gift exchange at the office party, but the concept of generously and freely giving gifts because God gave us his Son to redeem us; this is the association that cannot and should not be avoided. The Bible says that our love for each other, and thus our love for God can be measured, at least in part, by our generosity and the willingness with which we give tangible gifts to one another (see 1 John 3:16-17). Being the targets of God's love necessarily implants a desire to be the kind of person who meets the needs of others. Knowing what it is to be loved by God is an experience that the Bible says should drive us to give as freely as we have received. A redeemed heart will find increasing satisfaction in reaching out, even at great personal cost, to enrich and enhance the lives of others through the giving of time, talent and resources. So while the world may be giving gifts for all the wrong reasons (and complaining about it a good part of the time) we can piggy-back on this "gift-giving season" and give to help, benefit and encourage as a reflection of Christ and for the glory of God.
-- Pastor Mike
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