Growing up I recall hearing a story about one of my relatives who excitedly exclaimed to others on this day with her hand extended, “Christmas Give!” Strangely enough, she had nothing in her hand to extend, but was instead proclaiming her desire to receive from others in the spirit of “giving.” Much can be said about this day, from “there’s actually no proof that Christ was born today,” to “does that gift actually reflect what I mean to you.” As a society, we likely spend way too much time focusing on perimeter, rather than what is most important at the core. As followers of Jesus, we believe that Christ was born into the world, to walk amongst us, to enter ministry, to die, to be resurrected and return for us. Jesus is, as what we’ve heard, “the gift that keeps on giving.” However, I wonder if our Lord and Savior were to pull a “Christmas Give,” what would He receive in return?
I’ll start. I can give Him more of my faith earlier in difficulty. I believe that all things work together (Romans 8:28), but I declare I want to rush the process. Ugh! I can give Him more of my time. After all, it’s not mine anyway! Let me be clear. Not more of my time in the usual suspects of church. Believe it or not, we are expected to work outside the walls of the sanctuary, and put this Word to work. I’m fairly engaged in terms of my volunteer and community work, but I can “Christmas Give” more of my time when I’m home, watching mindless television as opposed to some deep reflection or listening prayer. I can give more of Him to others. Those who don’t believe in the power of Christ, those who have drifted away, those who are disappointed or depressed from the beatings of the world. I can Christmas Give more laughter. Things happen so quickly. It’s critical that we take time to laugh and enjoy each other. Enjoy creation. Enjoy the abundant life that Christ came for in the first place. I can Christmas Give more love, especially in places where my love might be unrequited. Finally, I can Christmas Give more of me! God wants all of us. Not as my Bishop said yesterday, “the church us,” but the “work us,” “the angry us,” “the disappointed us,” “the downtrodden us,” “the faithful as well as faith challenged us!”
So, whether you have a tree or not (two years not for me, perhaps a new tradition), whether you have the gift you desired or the one that will be returned tomorrow morning; whether you have to work today, this evening, or after the new year, let us challenge ourselves to Christmas Give what we know is required of us. And, if you don’t know, take some time to ask God what he wants, each year, each month, each day, each hour, each minute, and of course, each Christmas.