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The First Gift I'll Give

I remember being a little girl, maybe six or seven years old and walking into my Mom’s room as she was wrapping Christmas presents. I recognized the gifts—they were our old toys.

“Why are you wrapping our old toys, Mommy?”

Her answer was simple, “We’re wrapping these toys to give to boys and girls who won’t get any this year.”

At the time, I still believed in Santa. Because Santa only brings toys to good boys and girls, I just knew that my old toys were going to the boy in Sunday school who got in trouble every week.

It was years later when I found out that the toys really went to a needy family in our church. Kids who didn’t do anything wrong but wouldn’t be getting anything for Christmas because of economic hardships.

Forty years later, and I’ve never forgotten the example Mom set for us. That memory, along with so many more, is why the first gift I will give this year will be to our church who has “Toy Share” for families in need. It’s a tradition at our house…first we give to those less fortunate, then we give to ourselves.

This year, with so many struggling, I want to encourage you to join us in following my Mom’s example.

As you plan your Christmas season and start your holiday shopping, create a plan to help a family in need. It may be through an organization, your church, or you may give the gift directly. Whether you shop or donate, put generosity at the top of your shopping list this year.

Yes, I know. It’s hard to find the extra to give this time of year. With inflation driving prices through the roof and shortages everywhere, it’s even harder. Still, followers of Christ are called to do hard things.

We’re called to do more than hanging Christmas lights (which I love); we are called to be the light of the world and spread Jesus’ love to those who need it.

It’s also a way of expressing Thanksgiving to God for all that He gives to us.

We give because He gave, and we are grateful.

So that’s my challenge this week: Don’t forget to give.

Remember: God loves a cheerful giver!

As it says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15:

Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop.

I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.

God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.

As one psalmist puts it,

He throws caution to the winds,
    giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
    never run out, never wear out.

This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

 Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians.

It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God.

This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ.

You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need.

Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!

(The Message)

Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.

When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.

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