We’ve talked about rebelling against consumerism by spending less but now we’re encouraging you to give more… Is that a contradiction? Nope! Giving more isn’t about giving more toys, more gadgets, more clothes, more gift cards, more stuff.
God is calling us to give more intentionally and relationally. That means giving more of our time, our energy, our memories, our talents, our presence. It’s a both/and. Spend less money and give more of yourself to the ones you love.
We believe that the best gifts celebrate a relationship. Think back on the most meaningful gift you’ve ever received. Chances are that there is a story and a relationship that was connected to that gift. Now try and remember all of the gifts you were given last year…For most of us that’s hard to do.
It sounds obvious, yet we seem to have drifted away from this liberating, straightforward truth: The Father gave his one and only Son. God’s answer for the world’s problems has never been material things. God did not give us more stuff – even good stuff like work, food, or health. He gave us himself. The most priceless and personal gift of all!
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14
Relational giving means that we think about the other person–who they are and what they care about. We focus more on giving our undivided presence and less on a pile of presents under the tree. This takes time and effort on our part. These kinds of gifts often require planning, but you’ll hardly be able to wait until Christmas to give such a gift!
When we give relationally during the Advent season, this is what we remember: it’s an opportunity to worship as we remind each other of the gift that was given for our sake. If we can resist the trap of giving easy gifts, and reject the assumption that giving expensive gifts is the best way to express love, something else might begin to happen. Our kids, family, neighbors, and coworkers will watch us celebrate Christmas differently, and through our actions they will hear the good news of the Gospel.
Some ideas to help you Give More:
- If you’re overwhelmed, start small. Choose one person on your list to give a relational gift to.
- On Christmas morning, turn off your cell phone. Take a couple hours to be present with your family and focus on the people God has put in your life.
- Invest in experiences you can share. Sign up for dance lessons, go camping, plan a vacation, take cooking classes.
- Pass down memories. Make a recipe book or photo album to give to your family.
- Get a blank journal and write notes and prayers to your kids.
- Give a copy of your favorite book to a friend and then meet up for coffee and discuss it. Then switch and read their favorite book.
- Buy someone a gift that relieves a burden: babysitting money, help out with yard work, make a meal.
- Give the gift of hospitality. Invite a new family over for dinner and games.
- Do an activity with your kids – puzzles, jewelry making, baking, hiking, fishing, sports. Be present.