Thank you for joining us to celebrate the birth of our Saviour!
Christmas is a time of generosity. Our culture of gift-giving has its roots in both the gifts presented to Christ by the wise men, & more deeply, in God’s radically generous gift of his Son. Christmas, then, is a great chance for us to explore what ‘generosity’ really means.
Generosity is far more than giving presents to those we love – friends & family. The ‘father of modern Christmas’, Charles Dickens, was right to describe this season as:
‘a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people . . . as if they were fellow-passengers.’
Dickens was right! Not because that’s how we all behave. But he was right to see Christmas is a time to be generous beyond our normal group of recipients. He was right as well to see that generosity is more than presents – but our whole attitude.
Why is Christmas like this? Because we remember God’s outrageous generosity toward us. 2 Corinthians 8v9 captures it well: ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ In giving His Son, the Father illustrates what generosity is about: giving sacrificially; giving to bless & benefit; giving to those without a claim. In context, it is what inspired the poor Macedonian believers to radical generosity with all they had.
The gift of Christ reminds & inspires us to generously meet the needs we see around us. The Carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ captures that spirit of Christ-like generosity. Wenceslas, the bohemian Prince, spies a hungry peasant struggling to find firewood to warm himself in the harsh winter. He sees the need & acts. Not only does Wenceslas gather food, drink & supplies for the peasant – he personally braves the conditions to deliver them. The Carol concludes with this encouragement:
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.
Knowing God’s generosity to us, it is a blessing to be like Him & give to others in need. As our Lord said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20v35) – a blessing we can all enjoy!
However you celebrate Christmas – may it overflow with generosity.
Mark Smith | Senior Minister