“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…” Isaiah 9:2,6
700 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in a moment of mystical insight, the prophet Isaiah penned this symbolic summary of the story of Christmas. Into the dark night, God sent a bright light. Into a broken world, God sent his one and only son. Long before humanity could understand the import of these sacred words, the prophet Isaiah, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, gave us a glimpse of the hope that would be revealed in Jesus. Thousands of years later, we live in light of the reality of Christmas.
Among other titles, we call this time of year the season of giving. I love that. This is not just a season of gifts, it is a season of giving. Before and above all else, God gave humanity the best he had to offer: his son. Of all the verses we could look to for inspiration to be generous, John 3:16 is by far my favorite: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It’s probably the most famous verse in all of Scripture, and I understand why. The truth of that simple sentence changes everything for everyone. God so loved that he gave.
I’ve heard it said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Generosity is the natural response of love. To those whom I love, I cannot help but give. Give of myself. Give of my time. Give of my life. Receiving a gift is a blessing; giving a gift is a greater blessing. That’s another lesson we learned from Jesus. Christmas is the season we set aside each year to remember how greatly God loves us and to reflect his love for us in our love for those around us. As we give, we display the image of God in us to the people in our lives.
At VOUS, we say that generosity is our privilege. We don’t have to give, we get to give. We don’t see it as an obligation, we see it as an opportunity—an invitation to partner with God in his work in the world. Every year before receiving our annual vision offering—a once-a-year gift, over and above our regular giving—we identify people and organizations locally and globally to give toward. This year, we gave $500,000 in four weeks. Not because we have to, not to impress anyone, but to be a blessing to people who are serving God by serving others, and to demonstrate to our church the world-changing power of generosity. We are so grateful for a generous community that makes everything we do possible.
We are so much better together. When we join together in generosity, amazing things happen. None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something. Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, look for someone toward whom you can be generous. Your giving will send a clear message to the people in your life: you are loved, you are valued, you are important to me and important to God. You never know the impact one small act of kindness may have on someone. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are privileged to partner with the God who gave his best for us. Let’s go and do the same for others.
From our team at VOUS Friends + Family,