Would you know the Christmas Spirit if you saw it? It is fast becoming an endangered species in our culture today. We slash at it unintentionally with questions like, “What do you want for Christmas?” Yet the true spirit of Christmas is a spirit of giving... it is evidenced best in a generous heart. It shines out with stark clarity in the lives of those who possess it.
Having a generous heart has very little to do with the amount of money we spend on gifts or goodies or on how much we give to church and charities.
One mark of a Christian is a generous spirit, and God encourages us to set the bar high in our own lives. After all, he will provide what we need as we go. He began it all when he gave his Son that first Christmas. Jesus bought us forgiveness and gives us new life. God’s Spirit of generosity is all over our lives as believers. He looks to us to live generously and to enjoy excelling in it. We get to give grace away on his behalf!
...See that you also excel in this grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7).
Think about ways today where you can show generosity of spirit that has nothing to do with your pocketbook.
- Give compassion today to someone who is hurting... even if you can see they have dug their own hole.
- Give the gift of time to someone who needs to process her thoughts out loud. Look her in the eye and really hear what is being said.
- Give forgiveness, remembering God has forgiven you.
- Give encouragement to someone who is frustrated or discouraged.
- Give a place at your table and share a meal.
The list could go on. Yet all these things require a willing heart — a heart filled with grace because we have received such grace from our Father who sent his Son that first Christmas. Today, why not look for the places you can excel in the grace of giving?
Try writing a note on the top of your December “to do list”. It’s a declaration that can change the way you go through your busy days of December. It will take you through all the days of the new year too with a perspective that will surprise and refresh you. Declare over all your activities, “With God’s help I will do this with a generous heart.”
If you feel tired and discouraged yourself, go first to God and ask for his grace to strengthen you. Ask him for whatever specific thing you need for each task. Ask for patience or joy, love or peace to fill your actions, gentleness or kindness to mark your words, faith to share with gentle humility and self control to rule in the moments you need it most. Ask and receive his grace in abundance and then pass it out to those you encounter.
He is the one who can fill your cup so your spirit can excel in this grace of giving. He never expects you to give from your own spirit which can often show up on empty. He promises to fill us by his Spirit so we have something to give away.
You will be surprised at the extra dimension it will add to your day as you operate with a generous heart in all you do. God wants to use you where you are today to pass out his grace. Excel in it! Enjoy it. This is the true Christmas Spirit.
Heavenly Father, I ask you to show me how I can give out grace in the situations around me today. Help me to see the opportunities you provide to be generous with kindness, forgiveness, compassion, a gentle response, a listening ear or time to just be with someone. I cannot do this on my own. I ask right now that you would fill me with your Holy Spirit. Thank you that you are my Source and will give me what I need to pass on to others. Father, help me today to see my environment as one you want to penetrate with your grace. Help me to excel in the grace of giving today by the power of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.