What to Give for Christmas

 “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” -Acts 20:35b

If I could guess which Bible verse has been manipulated the most to benefit Consumerism, especially during the Holidays, I would say this one is it. I almost feel embarrassed to say that I had never thought of this verse in a non-materialistic way.

By giving, I usually thought about giving money to the poor or buying toys for the orphans or finding the perfect Christmas presents for my family and friends. But most of the times, this kind of giving didn’t feel like much of a blessing to me.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to help someone move into her new apartment. It was a lot of hard work, but we got so much more done than if she had been working alone.

Later that night, after I got home and showered the exhaustion away, I took some time to pray for specific people going through specific situations.

The prayer was nothing fancy–no elaborate words, not half an hour long. It was short and simple; it was genuine. It took some effort from me to put myself in their shoes and think about their feelings, their needs, and what I would want someone to pray for me if I was in their situation. I felt like I actually cared; like the Holy Spirit was praying for them through me.

After I had finished, I felt tired from all the work my body is not used to, but so happy. I felt like I had given so much of myself, and yet, I felt so full.

The point of giving isn’t just giving stuff.

Giving takes on new meaning when it involves caring too.

And caring can be expressed in so many ways–maybe even more efficiently–when we give a little of our time, our strength, our help, our love, our prayers to others. And the thing is, I might have been doing all the giving, but I felt like I was the one receiving too. Paradox.

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