WELCOME TO THE PARISH OF SKETTY
ADVENT JOY 3 GIVING
Acts 20: 35
You should remember these words of the Lord Jesus:
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Which do you enjoy the most at Christmas, giving, or receiving?
Graham Twelftree in his book, ‘Drive The Point Home’, tells the story about Richard Wurmbrand who was in prison for being a Christian and became seriously ill. He received an illicit gift of two lumps of sugar. He didn’t eat the sugar, but passed it on to someone who was in a worse state. Again the sugar wasn’t eaten. Apparently it lasted for some two years, passed from one prisoner to another, as a symbol of self-
What lies behind our giving at Christmas and what do we get out of receiving?
We receive presents and we give them back. Do we give them because someone first gives us something and we think we ought to return the gesture? Do we give in order to get something back and does its cost depend on the value of what we received? Do we give because it is expected of us? I am sure if we are honest some of these will apply to us!
Do we ever give out of love regardless of whether we get anything back? I like to believe that there are many of us who do.
We can find joy in the look on a child’s face as he or she fids the wanted present waiting for him or her on Christmas morning. Men and women wait eagerly for a much loved partner to open their gifts which express how much they appreciate each other and the love they share. Sometimes the giving of such gifts has been costly for us because we have had to do without things for ourselves in order to save up for them. We simply want to make the sacrifice out of love.
What about how we receive our gifts? Perhaps this depends on if we like what we are given! It would be best if we accepted everything with the same attitude of gratitude and appreciation. There will be long cues in stores after Christmas of people returning and exchanging unwanted presents.
In all the above talking about materialistic gifts but they all have a spiritual dimension.
The story with which I began this meditation expresses what
Christian giving should be about and is a reflection of God’s gift of His Son to His children. Christ is a gift of Love and hope and of great sacrifice and is given to help and to save us. Jesus was not the Messiah that the Jews were expecting or wanting but He cannot be exchanged whether we like what He teaches or not!
All that God expects in return is our love expressed in a change of behaviour and attitude and for it to be shared with others and continually passed on. This means that at Christmas instead of spending our money on many things for each other we could have one thing for ourselves and then use our money for something that will benefit many. An example of what I mean is sending food parcels to places in the world where Christmas day is just another day of starvation and sorrow.
Christmas is the time to give to each other the most precious gift of all and that is spiritual love as personified in Jesus, and it cannot be bought. It is to be freely given, accepted and shared, so that many benefit.
With whom will we share our gifts this Christmas?