It’s a line from a song in one of my favorite movies, The Sound of Music. Though it’s not the intended meaning, I can’t help thinking it aptly describes much of ‘giving’ that goes on at Christmas…
“Brown paper packages tied up with strings…”
We’ve turned the page on the calendar from November to December and simultaneously shifted from being thankful for all God has given us to setting out to acquire more. (Though we’re shopping to give to others, most of our purchases end up under our very own roofs, don’t they?)
God is a generous giver, so we do well to emulate that example. It’s not the gift-giving that gets to me each Christmas. It’s the seeming lack of connectedness to why we do it. All too often we give out of societal obligation, habit or — worse — to curry favor. Our giving is ‘tied up’ with strings. The Biblical model stands in sharp contrast.
Blessed to be a blessing
In the earliest pages of the Bible the Lord tells Abram that there is a purpose to the generosity God is showing him. It is meant to be the impetus for Abram to in turn bless others, making him the channel through which God is made known to the world.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
– Genesis 12:1-3 ESV (emphasis added)
At your Thanksgiving meal, did you enumerate the blessings God has given you in some fashion: verbally at the dinner table, on a decorative leaf wreath, or in prayer? Reflect again on that inexhaustible list and let that inspire you to give. Take joy in the act of giving the same way you delighted in receiving all He’s given you.