Christmas often brings out the urge to share goodwill with those less fortunate. However, many people have lost sight of the fact that the attitude of giving is most important, not the gift itself.
The following suggestions for scripture readings and ideas for giving can help to keep the focus on the spirit of generosity that is at the center of the Advent and Christmas seasons.
Scripture Readings on Giving
Scripture readings that focus on giving and the true meaning of Christmas:
Matthew 6:1-4 – In this passage, Jesus reminds His followers that their motive for giving should be to please God, not other people.
Mark 12:41-44 – This is the story of the widow who gave all that she had to the treasury, while others gave only from their abundance. Jesus notes to His disciples that her gift counted more.
John 3:16 – This passage reminds us that God gave His only begotten son.
Acts 20:35 – When Paul is leaving the Ephesians for the last time, he reminds them that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Galatians 1:3-5 – This reading reminds us that Jesus gave Himself for our sins.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 – In this reading, Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to give generously and cheerfully. He reminds them that God will bless those who give willingly.
Ideas for Giving at Christmastime
These are some suggestions for ways to give during the holidays, with the emphasis on the spirit of generosity:
- When the regular shopping is done throughout the year, inexpensive items can be purchased and stored in a drawer or container. During Christmas, they can be donated to a local shelter or transition house.
- When the regular grocery shopping is done, a few extra items can be added to the cart, then donated to the local food bank.
- Saved points or coupons, redeemable at grocery stores, can be used to buy food items. These items can be donated to a local food bank.
- Christmas decorations can be sorted early. Extras can be donated to a local transition house or family who can use them.
- Clothes closets and drawers can be sorted before Christmas. Again, any items not needed can be donated to a charity or family in need.
- When shopping for gifts, an extra gift can be purchased to place in the collection box at the local mall or shopping center.
- And, of course, there is always the gift of life. If an individual is able, blood donations are welcome at anytime of the year.
Reaching out to Neighbors
- When a meal is prepared, extra can be cooked. Then a family or single person can be invited to share the meal.
- Time can be spent with someone who is alone or unwell.
- Elderly people or neighbors can be assisted with shopping or chores.
- The effort can be made to get to know a neighbor or family better.
- Time can be spent with seniors or other people in need, reading scriptures to them and joining them in prayer.
- Remembering God’s creation, food and feeders can be placed outside for birds and animals.
- If a real tree is used for Christmas, it can be purchased from a local group or charity. Then, recycled to be environmentally friendly.
- Hampers or toys can be delivered for a community organization.
- Help can be given to serve a Christmas Day meal at a local shelter.
- There are many ways to spend time reflecting on giving, as well as carrying out acts to demonstrate this essential part of the Christmas season.