November is the season of thankfulness and December is the season of giving, yet COVID-19 and 2020 have prevented families from feeling this way. Priorities have changed along with jobs, finances, education and friendships. As we reflect on this year, I pray we can gather our strength and gusto to finish December with joy and anticipation. “But how?” you may say, as you look around and see the scattered and torn remnants of your life and home.
I realize this Christmas will be quite different for a lot of families. Presents will be few, traveling non-existent, and gathering with relatives limited. But what if instead of looking at what we don’t have, we focus on what we do? What do you already have that you can use to bless others? Close your eyes (yes, I said to close your eyes) and give it some thought.
Your gifts to offer are not what is around you, but rather what is IN you.
Psalm 139 is a beautiful melody of how your Father gently designed you…with specific passions and talents. Someone else may have the same gift, but not in the way that you can present. You are completely individual and made for a purpose (Ephesians 4:1). Delight yourself in Him (Psalm 37:4), allowing Him to fill you with joy and blessings as you step forward to BE YOU!
In Mark 10:17, we meet a rich man coming to Jesus seeking ways to enter into the Kingdom and to be used by God. His hands were full and his intentions were good, but his focus was off. Jesus told him “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter…” The disciples and the rich man were confused, so Jesus spoke again, inviting the man to release his possessions, to leave behind his priorities and status and simply come as he was. Removing his possessions also included his past and guilt, his ideals of what his faith should look like and the expectations the world had placed on his shoulders.
Just come as you are. Be the person that God made you to be. Use what you have to help others and showcase the Father. The amount of money and number of possessions have no bearing on your worth or effort. He just needs you!
So, what does that mean for us as we end 2020? We need to become stewards of our gifts and not owners.
Do you like to cook? Write poetry? Sew? Babysit kiddos? Walk dogs? Clean flowerbeds? Pray? Organize pantries? Write cards of appreciation? Assemble bouquets from your garden? Put up holiday decorations? ALL of these require few dollars but are priceless!! Imagine someone knocking on your door and offering you a gift of something you desperately need or just don’t do because you have no joy or talent for it? The smile on your face, the gasp in your throat, the happy dance in your heart is EXACTLY what you can do for someone else!!
As December begins, I am pledging to find ways to use the gifts He has given me. First, I love to cook, so I am offering to make and deliver two quiches a week to people in our community who need a meal or want to bless someone at home or work. Second, I love to write and share Jesus, so I am in the final stages of writing two Bible studies that will be offered in January to ladies in our community as well as those online. Third, I love to hug and encourage, so I am creating a monthly safe haven time for ladies to come to the Vineyard, share their frustrations and concerns, and then receive wisdom and resources to have a better next month.
All of these things require little cost, but I believe give great value and worth to those who are desperately needing a steppingstone into this coming year. I am committing to USE MY GIFTS to help others instead of searching for items I do not have and then feeling bad for not having them to give.
Jesus told us plainly, “I have come to bring you abundant LIFE – more than you can ever imagine!” (John 10:10) But my eyes have to be ON HIM to be USED BY HIM. And in doing so, I receive more blessings to then pour back onto those around me!
Yes, December IS the season of giving…and I am so excited to begin!
I hope you join me!