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Grateful Giving by John Penberthy-Smith

I really like to get gifts for other people, not so much in strict adherence to the calendar of birthdays, but more when I see something that I feel fits the person. I love that feeling when the gift hits the spot. Of course, if it coincides with a birth date, then that’s a bonus.
At this time of year the thoughts of the world turn vaguely towards the birth of Jesus and towards all the favourite traditions of Christmas. Now, I know you are going to think that I’m grumpy, but I’ve never really understood why, for the Lord’s birthday, everyone gives gifts to each other, but they don’t give a gift to him? I mean, imagine if that was how we were treated on our birthday! Gifts for everyone else but not for us, there would undoubtedly be tears before bedtime.
Of course you might say, “Bah humbug!” And you’re probably right. But I wonder what the fictional character, Mr Scrooge, would say about it all? In the book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Mr Scrooge went from not celebrating Christmas at all to a man passionate about gift-giving. Scrooge starts off as a right old misery, to himself and everyone around him, and in the story he is miraculously given the chance to see the different ways his life might work out. That experience gives him a change of heart and a second chance to make a better life for himself and those around him. In fact, he is so grateful for the reprieve and the new life he has received that he wants to celebrate by sharing his joy and giving gifts to all those around him.
We are also purposed to be part of a divine chain of joyful giving. Almighty God, motivated by love for His creation, gave His most precious gift to mankind—His Son, Jesus Christ. He came as a babe in manager but grew to be a man with the mission to make a way back for us from the darkness of sin that separated us from relationship with God. Ultimately, when rejected by man, Jesus chose to give up His life as a final gift for us. And what looked like defeat turned into victory when God raised Jesus from the dead and conquered death. And today, anyone who calls on the name of Lord shall be saved and restored to relationship with Almighty God.
In some ways, those who call on the name of the Lord and are saved are a bit like Mr Scrooge, in that we have also been given a second chance at life—a new life with Christ. So, I pray that the celebration of this gift in us will flow out of us all this season into special gifts of love, joy, peace, hope and forgiveness, which we can freely and lavishly give to those who God divinely sends across our paths this Christmas season.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,when it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27

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