A Reflection on Christmas Guilt and Giving

Ok, the presents are packed away and the bills are coming in. Well, I’m not here to tell you that you overspent or not.  I doubt you need anyone to tell you that!

But I would like to address the frustration that often puts undue stress on us.  Sometimes we blame cultural expectations for this tension and frustration.  But I believe for many of us Believers, there is a genuine God-given desire that sets our frustration into motion!

What is that God-given desire?

To give!  Excessively, extravagently, and without restriction.  Deep within each of us, this desire lives.

Why?  Because we have a God who has “lavished His love on us!” 1 Jn 3:1 (NIV)

LAVISH.  Don’t you love that word?  He has lavished His love on you!

So, why the frustration which creates the tension?  Because no sooner does the desire to give lavishly well up in us, when a competing thought squashes it down: the thought of lack!

Not enough money, not enough resources, not enough time, creativity, energy… whatever.  Faster than we even notice, lack rises up and squeezes the desire to lavishly give, making us feel inadequate, ashamed, and guilty.  Yuk.

Then we blame commercialism, non-believers, greedy kids (did we raise them to be like this???), and before you know it, we end up feeling like Scrooge.

So, what is my suggestion for you?

Rather than get swept away in a flood of lack, guilt, blame, and resentment… focus on ONE thing:
how lavishly the Lord loves you.

Take a few moments each day to dwell on that.  Let it swell up inside your chest, allow that thought to permeate your attitudes, your actions, and your daily dealings. Whenever you feel the pangs of lack, remember His lavish, extravagent love.

I know, it sounds too simple and too self-centered, but…
To be a true giver, you must first be a grateful receiver.

Remember: YOU are the joy set before Jesus. (Hebrews 2:2) And it all starts with Him!

And one more thing… even now, as you prepare for the coming year, set aside the funds you anticipate spending next year, or plan a year of giving without spending lots …. KNOWING you have the heart of God who loves to give.  Seek Him and His abundance, whether expressed through funds, creativity, or special favors.
He wants you to be blessed, not burdened as you express His goodness in and through you.

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